Category Archives: Social Media

Roger Ebert and the Age of Influencers

Last week marked the beginning of the 38th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Award-winning film critic, Roger Ebert once called TIFF “the most important film festival in North America.” It’s fitting that before the opening film, the late journalist, and screenwriter was celebrated for the key roles he played in the film community, and how his influence expanded the significance Toronto holds in the cinematic world.

Ebert was the film critic that had as much or more celebrity than those he reviewed thanks to his global platform, credibility, and his passion for film. He was the definition of an influencer in the cinema industry.

After his death on April 4, 2013 the question of who would assume the position of the most trusted film critic emerged. If there were a critic as trusted and celebrated as Roger Ebert today, would we look for the thumb up or thumb down from them to make a decision?

Everyday, there is a new way social media is reshaping the landscape of how people in developed and emerging markets react to the world around them. Now, more than ever we see it putting an end to the visibility of elitist opinion leaders.

If you’re looking for an opinion on a recent film release, it becomes a show of hands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers to decide if you will be heading to the movies, forcing the educated journalist to become a blurb on the back of a DVD case.

Less and less, influencers are made up of big-ticket celebrities that endorse a product or a call to action, and more often, influencers are now those that are close to your own social networks; family members, friends, people who look like you, talk like you and those that you feel you have a personal connection with, in real life or not-so-real life.

In the slow destruction social media has caused to celebrity influencers as we know them, it has also created platforms of strong, underground communities built for specific areas of interest, like cinema. The diplomacy of online writing allows for more focused discussion, and perhaps a greater comfort zone for niche writers.

In charge of finding influencers for a brand, I might look to somewhat established bloggers. They are the ones who have built an audience from doing what they enjoy. However, there may be a risk of mid-level bloggers gaining a celebrity status that causes them to lose charm, and authenticity. If the next Roger Ebert is among them, a blogger that gains celebrity from a skill-set, doing what they love instead of being flashy for the sake of it, is an opinion leader that might be worth listening to, but that’s just my opinion.

For more on TIFF visit tiff.net

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Silly Symphony

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presented their annual general report last Monday and it showed the previous season operations leaves the TSO short to the tune of $1 million dollars. This deficit is largely due to a star-studded birthday celebration for the symphony’s 90th anniversary.

60% of ticket sales are from subscribers while most of the empty seats are being bought 24 hours prior to an event. Andrew Shaw, president and CEO of the TSO told the Toronto Star,

“We see change going on here when people are purchasing their tickets. This is the internet generation. They tweet, text and make up their minds 24 hours before the concert.”

One million seems like pocket change to raise in the metropolis of Toronto. In wartimes the film industry did well; No matter how bad things got, people wanted to spend on an escape. Has that mentality changed? Is the economy bad enough to make the value of art as escape go down? As far as ticket sales, maybe the TSO should find a way to attract more subscribers or be more vocal online to make those last-minute buyers eager to purchase tickets early. It could be a case of overspending and it’s time to reduce operating costs.

It almost seems too easy to find seven figures for the band. It will be interesting to see how they play this deficit score.

For more on the TSO or to donate click here.

Does Bad Press Exist? Not in This Kitchen

It could be planned, it could be a mistake or it could be a case of human stupidity but increasingly, employees of major brands are voicing their opinions to the world by using the official company twitter and not their personal account.

The most recent crisis deals with KitchenAid, a major home appliance company and a man that goes by POTUS (That’s President of the United States.)

President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate, Governor Mitt Romney took part in the first Presidential debate on October 3, 2012. Obama told a personal story about his grandmother, admitted she passed away three days before he took office. A KitchenAid employee (who is obviously not a Obama supporter) tweeted this…

“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president”

It is safe to assume common sense should allow us to believe the statement by the employee is not the opinion of the company. However, this has not been met without backlash; former supports of the company’s products are calling for a boycott.

KitchenAid responded eight minutes later with a personal apology.

They continue today (October 3) to push the apology.


 The speedy response by KitchenAid might be what saves the company from a massive fallout, but has this all been bad news for the brand? From September 7, 2012 to October 2, 2012 @kitchenaidusa gained 1,179 followers and from October 3, 2012 (the day of the debate and offensive tweet) to today, October 6, 2012 they have gained 1,967 more followers.

2,000 followers in three days vs. 1,000 followers in three weeks?  What’s so bad about bad press?

You can follow KitchenAid here @kitchenaidusa