Multi-hyphenate Shavone Charles has been disrupting the tech industry for a decade. With stints at VSCO, Instagram, and Twitter, she currently serves as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion Communications at TikTok. This month, she launched a new venture, a book.
On November 8, tech innovator, activist, and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Charles made her debut with Penguin for the release of her first-ever young adult book and audiobook, Black Internet Effect, which follows the early chapters of her personal story as a young Black woman and trailblazer within the world of tech, entertainment, and social media, where she outlines her mission to create inclusivity within the space, for people of color and especially for young Black women.
“The right balance of curiosity and good old nerve has always pushed me toward good directions in my life. During the darkest, most discouraging times, I can lean on those two parts of me,” said Charles.
In this installment of the Pocket Change Collective, Charles explores how curiosity and nerve led her from a small college in Merced, California, to some of the most influential spaces in the tech world: from Google to Twitter, to eventually landing a spot on the coveted Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
The Pocket Change Collective is a series of pocket-sized non-fiction books featuring big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists. All books in the collective feature designs by acclaimed illustrator and visual artist Ashley Lukashevsky. The series explores gender, food, queer responsibility, environmentalism, art, sports, tech, and more. Through the experiences of its contributors, this collection of stories creates thoughts, conversations, and inclusivity.
The Black Internet Effect closes out the Pocket Change Collective series, a collection of ten books written by activists and artists to inspire young readers to discover themselves and their world.
Grateful for being the first in many spaces but passionate about being neither the last nor the only, Charles tells her story to guide others and shape a future where people, particularly women of color, feel empowered to make space for themselves and challenge society’s status quos.
With her first book, she hopes to continue to break down the doors and institutional ceilings that keep people of color out of the technology industry. Through her story and memoir, Charles illuminates the undeniable impact and value Black and BIPOC communities drive on the world’s biggest social platforms and the internet. She also invites BIPOC voices and next-gen readers to unapologetically advocate for equity and representation along their personal journeys and across the tech and creative industries.
In her memoir, she explains how her advocacy and resilience helped pave the way for her to break through ceilings and thrive through adversity throughout her journey as a first-generation trailblazer in the tech, entertainment, and creative industries.
From delving into the organizational cultures of prominent tech companies: Google, Instagram, and Twitter, Charles explores the importance of creating inclusive, safe spaces for women of color creatives and underrepresented communities – which is important, as the numbers for representation in tech companies are dim. According to a 2021 report from AnitaB.org, only 26.7% of women account for the tech workforce. Only Black women make up just 1.7%, and Black professionals make up just 7.4%. Charles hopes to change these glaring statistics.
In the book, Charles also discusses the efforts to bring Black culture’s influence on the internet to the forefront by amplifying multicultural voices online and offline.
She believes that underrepresented communities are among the most active and technologically savvy users on social media (and the internet). “The next generation of youths are deemed the most creative, advanced, and thoughtful people on the internet right now. We’re in a day and age when next-generation content creators and hobbyists are reshaping industries with their ability to make a lucrative living off of social media and cultivate communities online,” she says.
Order The Black Internet Effect on Amazon here.