Fans of Twitter can't help have noticed that the site has become a bit of a battleground for women, of late.
Recent threats of violence towards female users have cast a shadow over a social media site that is normally a safe -- if highly irascible -- space for conversation.
Just days after HuffPost UK Lifestyle reported on rape threats tweeted to Caroline Criado-Perez (a modern feminist who successfully fought to keep women on British bank notes), three female journalists received identical tweets that threatened their homes with a bomb attack.
While this social media landscape might sound frightening, the scene is also an indication of how powerful women are becoming on Twitter. From modern feminists on a mission to gals who just love the sound of their own voices, the Twitter-verse ain't the boys club that it once was.
Of the top 10 Twitter handles in the world, half are associated with women, with Lady Gaga leading the way in her bid to take girl power to a new dimension.
Here are 20 women who you should support today -- and help squash the minority who still see women as easy prey.
The woman who reminded the nation that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/gordon-brown/6243343/Sarah-Brown-hails-hero-Gordon-at-Labour-Party-conference.html" target="_blank">former Prime Minister Gordon Brown wasn't just all about the numbers</a>, has become a tour de force on twitter. Her tweets demonstrate a keen news sense, as well as broader understanding of what the world 'should' be worrying about. As an ardent charitable campaigner, who works on a range of projects helping disadvantaged children (a passion sparked by the tragic loss of the Browns first daughter), Sarah's tweets transcend prosaic and petty matters. Follow her to be inspired on a daily basis.
Since co-founding of The Women's Room, a networking site designed to raise the profile of female experts, Caroline Criado-Perez has found herself at the centre of every feminist storm within 140 characters. Currently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/29/caroline-criado-perez-twitter-rape-threats-feminist_n_3671001.html" target="_blank">fighting off misogynistic rape threats on Twitter</a>, which have inundated her feed since she began campaigning to keep women on British bank notes, Criado-Perez is a 'must follow' for all modern women in Britain.
Martha Lane Fox
Remember the dot com bubble? Well, few companies made it out alive, unless their owners' had built a seriously sound business. When <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/martha-lane-fox/" target="_blank">Martha Lane Fox</a> eventually sold Lastminute.com in 2005, the company was worth 577m, and since then she has been sought out by everyone from Selfridges to Her Majesty's Government (to act as their 'Digital Champion') for her digital business expertise. Her twitter feed is a heady mix of life, politics and business, which reminds you how incredibly good women are at multitasking.
If you want to watch politics in action, then follow Rowenna Davis. The 28-year-old Peckham counsellor has been selected as the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the highly marginal seat of Southampton Itchen for the 2015 general election. So expect plenty of tension, tears and general enthusiasm from a woman who has spent her 20s campaigning, rather than carousing -- and now hopes to win the role of her dreams.
It's impossible not to love the fresh, revealing and informative Twitter feed of Sue Perkins. Those old enough will know that Sue is in her second career innings, after a comedy tour relaunched her career in 2006. Now, she is quickly becoming a national treasure, as she hosts quirky British programmes, such as Great British Bakeoff, with a self-effacing deadpan humour as perfectly judged as the cakes. Expect genuinely funny tweets (not just links promoting her work) referring to the news, what's going in her head... and food.
American journalist Maria Popova's Twitter feed is a example of how the site works at its best. By following the right people, your feed will be a scintillating blend of the most interesting things in the world. As the editor of Brain Pickings, a weekly newsletter round-up of 'Interestingness', Maria brings her Twitter followers into contact with the coolest stuff in the world. Be glad that someone is 'this geeky' about life and take advantage..
Bonnie Greer has her feet on the ground and her heart in the right place. She's also not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Author and playwright, she describes herself as a "bonne vivant" who refuses 'to dance to anyone else's tune'. Follow her for political commentary. She blogs for <a href="http://huffingtonpost.co.uk/bonnie-greer" target="_blank">HuffPost UK </a>and spoke at our panel discussion on feminism. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/12/wilderness-festival-feminism-quotes-_n_3740996.html" target="_blank">See her best quotes here</a>.
Justine is relatively new to Twitter considering she is the founder and chief executive of Britain's largest and most successful parenting website, <a href="http://www.mumsnet.com/" target="_blank">Mumsnet</a>. She's recently been voted number 7 in BBC Woman's Hour's "Power List 2013" of the most powerful women in the UK and her status largely comes from the hundreds of thousands of parents she can corral into action, on any given day. Justine's Twitter feed is a fascination glimpse into the life of a woman who is growing a business and family, and a social media phenomenon.
For food lovers, Trish Deseine (an Irish cook who moved to France) offers a gorgeous Twitter feed. Flooded with mouth-watering pictures, great recipe ideas and a generally high levels of bon viveur, this stream provides relief from those food writers, who prefer to talk to one another on Twitter, rather than inspire the rest of the world. Trish Deseine has a cookbook coming out this year, <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paris-Gourmet-Flammarion-Chic-Lifestyle/dp/2080201565" target="_blank">The Paris Gourmet</a>, which as well as being a guide to French cuisine, divulges her secrets to entertaining Paris-style. So expect to hear lots from her..
What more is there to say about the Queen of Twitter? The prolific journalist, commentator and feminist author found her perfect social media platform match when she began posting sharp, topical tweets on Twitter. Start following her to enjoy her unique brand of wit, mockery and honesty.
No More Page 3
"Boobs are not news" cries the No More Page 3 campaign. And we're inclined to agree. The campaign is led by feminist and HuffPost UK blogger Lucy-Anne Holmes, and the petition has more than 115,000 signatures and counting. Follow the Twitter account to show your support, share the support of others and end Page 3.
If you're interested in science in the UK, then Alice Bell is the lady to follow. Not only will she be at the heart of all the debates, but Alice tends towards reasoned debate, rather than bombast. Follow her feed to enjoy some hearty debates about the role of science today, and watch Alice attempt to bring order to the unruly world of Twitter chat.
For those who use Twitter for business as well as pleasure @smallbiztrends is an invaluable source of information. The handle (created by website founder Anita Campbell) has more than 100K followers looking for sound advice and research on how to maximise returns from a small business. The content is enlightening and well curated, which makes it a 'must-follow' for would-be entrepreneurs.
Don't expect this writer to go easy on you. As a left-wing journalist, whose built a reputation on pushing the boundaries, her Twitter feed is fuel to the socialist fire.
The female comedian who rose to fame in Spaced, has a terrific Twitter feed. Hynes loves to share music, comedy sketches and news items that touch her heart. From daft conversations about rubber balls (complete with followers' pics) to YouTube clips of African American female a cappella, you'll never be bored!
Sometimes on Twitter, you need a break from witticisms, breaking news and controversy. And when that moment comes, you'll want to start clicking the links from @BayTreeJen. Her twitter feed includes links to massively useful information about personal finance, plus advice and general support for getting your life together generally. It's a sane voice among the noise of the Twitter-verse.
This Twitter feed, which catalogues instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis, is utterly compelling Started by freelance writer Laura Bates (who blogs for HuffPost UK), the Twitter handle has taken on a life of its own. Laura is currently working on many spin-off projects so expect this social experiment to grow and grow. Read more from Laura Bates, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/news/laura-bates" target="_blank">here</a>.
If her Twitter feed is anything to go by, the founder of The Huffington Post has more energy in her little finger, than many of us will ever experience! Follow her Twitter handle to be inspired by her commitment to living each day better than the last. Her current project, The Third Metric, aims to recalibrate society's measurement of personal success beyond money. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/29/arianna-huffington-the-third-metric_n_3670323.html" target="_blank">here</a>.
If you feel as the world has stopped talking about environmental issues ever since the economic collapse (as though we can no longer afford a conscience), then start following Connie. As the EU commissioner for Climate Action, she devotes her life to encouraging politicians to adopt a more sustainable approach to living, with tangible results. Follow her feed to find out what's happening to protect our planet, today.
Need a dose of dry comedy in your twitter feed? Nothing hits the spot quite so well as @Queen_UK. Soon you'll be using the phrase 'Gin O'Clock' as though it were an actual time. Well it is, isn't it?