Call me shallow, but I love a twitter interaction with someone famous. I’m a huge fan of George Stroumboulopoulos – Twitter handle: @Strombo. George first appeared on my radar when he was doing The Hour on CBC television. I was living in the city, working at the university and I never missed his show. The guy is a phenomenal interviewer. Check out his interview with Jake Gyellenhaal – George got this guy down to the emotional core with so much style and finesse it will blow you away.
On a trip to Toronto in 2008, Bruce and I were fortunate enough to sit-in on a live broadcast of The Hour at the downtown CBC Building. After the taping, George spent time taking questions and interacting with the studio audience. I remember George’s response to a group of journalist students who had all kinds of questions about getting to where he now stood. His said something like – be a decent person through every part of your career. (I think he actually said don’t be a dickhead.) That was sage advice that a few at the CBC could have heeded.
George was the first person I followed on Twitter. One day, about a week later, I read a tweet of his – he was at an airport somewhere waiting for a plane. I gather this is something he does on a regular basis. I tweeted that he could follow me if he liked. I said I was a big fan, I didn’t over tweet and I wasn’t hard core into selling anything. And he did follow me. Wow!
As an interesting sideline to a diverse career (from Much Music, to The Hour, to George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight to NHL hockey commentator), and I suspect this sideline could be his major love, George hosts a three-hour radio show on Sunday evenings on CBC Radio2 called The Strombo Show. This broadcast is an eclectic mix of music, some great interview segments and insightful snippets into how music radically shapes who we are.
Both the show @TheStromboShow and George, follow the twitter stream on show day and during broadcast so they can interact with fans. It’s great fun to try and tweet out something of note that relates to a piece of music or an interview and have that picked up and spread to others. To me, that is the type of dialogue that twitter should be about.
One Sunday evening last summer while I was making dinner and listening to The Strombo Show on the radio (the show airs at 8:00 pm in Toronto – so I live stream on the internet out in BC at 5:00), George was in conversation with Jeremy Taggart (drummer for the Canadian band, Our Lady Peace) about a cause close to Jeremy’s heart – youth suicide. The conversation side-stepped into music, as most conversations should, when mention was made of the Neil Young song – Needle and the Damage Done. Someone said, that was written about … and they blanked on the name. I ran outside, screamed the question to Bruce (a died-in-the-wool Neil Young fan, I often say Neil is his man-crush) and he answered, Danny Whitten. I came back in the house and tweeted the name and got a thank you twitter response from Jeremy Taggart a few minutes later. Now that was sort of cool – right?
Through my Twitter relationship with George, I have followed him on a few motorcycle trips (awesome pics), got tuned into a number of causes (love those causes) and I’ve been introduced to a few things that were not in my common lexicon of knowledge – I just discovered today that when George types Fugazi he probably means the post-hardcore Washington band that formed in 1987 and he doesn’t need autocorrect to mess with that.
Now and then, I spread my George groupie status (that’s what my daughter calls it) to others. I read an interview where George talked about the good wolf and the bad wolf and the idea of spreading good in the world rather than adding to the negative energy out there. He said; feed the good wolf, my friends. I used this analogy to end an email I sent to parents who asked for feedback in dealing with some news about their son that could have profound implications for the boy’s future. Later, I heard that these parents spread my email message around and it was George’s analogy about the good wolf /bad wolf that stuck with people. (So glad the academic in me attributed the thoughts to him.)
George is a strong proponent of human rights, he cares about the causes I care about; he’s a famous guy who is actually, from all that I can see, what he appears to be – nice. What I love about Twitter is that it allows me a window into the life of a person I admire that I wouldn’t normally have.
I’ll tag George on this post and maybe I’ll get a response. Who knows? The Twitter universe is a wide pool, my friends.
Although I’m unfamiliar with this particular celebrity, I do know the tingly feeling of connecting directly with someone you admire on Twitter. I’ve had two occasions in which I tagged: an author I love, and a nutrition guru I follow in various tweets, and both times my tweets were “liked” by said celebrities. Very cool.
But my kids recently had an experience that was even more intimate. They follow a pair of actors who star in a long-running cult-type TV show called Supernatural. One of the actors does a series of silly cooking videos on YouTube with his young children. So my younger daughter tagged him in a tweet one day, telling him he should make more of these videos because they’re so much fun to watch. Within the hour, he tweeted her back directly, to inform her that a new set of videos were currently in production. She was over the moon. What a fantastic experience for a 12-year-old, and how cool that they’re growing up in this era when such direct contact is possible.
It’s a new world out there in social media, isn’t it, Gwen? Kids can’t help but look at the whole concept of celebrity in a different way and I think that could turn out to be a good thing. I love this story of your kids and their interaction with the stars. Thank you for sharing.
How I wish Twitter was around in the 70’s while I went through the teenage celebrity crush phase. I could have followed David Cassidy and his family on that bus.
You definitely have a major Twitter crush, Fran! I’m curious, does Bruce have a Twitter crush too?
I totally remember that bus 🙂 I’d have been following after the Monkeys. Now there was a crush – me and Peter. Memories – hey, hey we’re the Monkeys and people say we monkey around but we’re too busy singing to put anybody down. Not a bad message as things go.
Oh – the idea of Bruce on twitter had me laughing so hard, I forgot to answer. I tried to imagine Bruce and Neil Young in a twitter conversation – lots of …. ya, man …. and then musical interludes. Too funny.
Oh yes, I loved the Monkeys too, Fran. I had all of their albums. In fact, I have their music on my iPod. I’m a Believer! Love that song too!
Love this! Wish I could get his program or is there a way via Internet? Not too savvy in that department. Fun post, Francis.
Access the CBC Main site/radio http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ You should be able to stream him on Radio 2 on Sunday nights the way I do. It’s always better live. 8:00 pm EST. Good luck. And I’m glad you enjoyed my little tribute. I think we all need to do a tribute now and then.
You’re so right! Thanks for the info.
That’s cool Fran, though clearly I don’t know George. I’m not a great Twitter user but I’ve gotten more comfortable with it. It’s an ‘eek!’ moment when a celeb follows back isn’t it? I’ve never dared to strike up conversation with one though. Probably my most famous follow-back is @donovanofficial, Donovan Leitch who was Britain’s Bob Dylan back in the 60s and is still active.