What I Love About Twitter – following George @Strombo

George at CBC FoodBank Day

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.

Toronto Island - Bruce Witzel photo

The Hour - Guenette photo (2)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.

The Hour - Guenette photo (1)

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.

Strombo Show tweet

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?

George tweet motorcycles

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.

George retweet

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 - Amnesty

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.

George in the red chair


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.