About 1,300 published salaries, according to a BuzzFeed data analysis of Twitter data. #Talkpay may be starting a conversation, but it’s a nascent one.

Flickr / visitmanchester / Via Flickr: visitmanchester

Friday was May 1st — International Workers Day — and to celebrate the occasion, Laura Voswinkel, a Pittsburgh-based programmer, came up with a hashtag. Intended to start a public conversation around worker's rights and salary inequality in the American labor market, #talkpay encouraged anyone with a job and a salary to post both to Twitter along with the hashtag.

But while the hashtag became a trending topic on Twitter, most of the tweets using the hashtag were simply taking part in the discussion, and did not reveal actual salaries. By searching #talkpay tweets for bits of text that looked like salary information, BuzzFeed estimates, very roughly, that around 1,950 of the #talkpay tweets contained a number that appears to be a salary figure. (That amounts to 20 percent of the 9,600 #talkpay tweets BuzzFeed collected through noon Pacific Time on Saturday.)

Those tweets were sent by around 1,300 individuals, some of whom tweeted their salary information more than once, or multiple salaries over time, or the anonymous salary information of others. Because the data comes from self-reported tweets, there's no way to verify the accuracy of this information.

Voswinkel hoped that mass salary disclosures would “break the taboo surrounding salaries, so that people would become more comfortable with discussing pay and engaging in a collective action.” Her goal was to trigger a national movement, and create a venue for solidarity by encouraging white collar workers to join in a dialogue that low-wage workers in the fast food industry and Fight for Fifteen protesters are already having.

Many #talkpay tweets focused on the awkwardness of disclosing private compensation information, other individuals said they feared the possible consequences of doing so.


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