Soraya Darabi (Internet RockStar)

soraya-darabi.jpgIf influence can be measured in Twitter followers, Soraya Darabi's is certainly on the rise. The 26-year-old spearheaded The New York Times' push into social-media marketing.

Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits Darabi with his impressive count of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. And after winning the Gray Lady a top prize at the INMA awards in 2009, Darabi recently made the cover of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in business, falling between the likes of Lada Gaga (No. 1) and Andrey Ternovskiy (No. 100), the teen founder of Chatroulette.

Darabi left the Times in late 2009 to become product lead at, a real-time online project-sharing, collaboration, and presentation service. Darabi graduated from Georgetown in 2005 with a degree in English literature, but says she'd "give anything to go back to college and double major in computer science." "Women are simply not taught to think technology and programming are cool and worth exploring until it may be too late," she says.

So how does this savvy non-engineer get a leg up in the Internet world? By harnessing the power of her social network, of course. "It's all a game of online telephone, and I'm tapped into a network that probably hears the message first."

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By Joyce C. Tang
The Daily Beast