Thursday, October 30, 2008

More "Oprah" ... Digg it?

The reaction to the first "Oprah" piece took us by surprise.

It all started with a seemingly innocent question from a veteran broadcaster wandering around the blogosphere, learning about the brave new world that is social media.

The former radio & TV host asked himself ...

"Self... who is the "Oprah" of social media?"

Beginning with Gary Vaynerchuk, a few names immediately came to mind and the post was off and running with a list of five top contenders. What TSB did not anticipate was the amount of e-mails, phone messages and comments suggesting other worthy candidates of this most "unofficial" title to be THE go-to personality on the internet.

So Digg in for another five most deserving candidates, beginning with:

1. Kevin Rose of This video explains his "Oprahness" candidacy very well.

2. Brian Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley. A quick visit to his blog at PR2.0 reveals a shocking, behind-the-scene look at what Bono may or may not have been up to while on vacation. It's called Where the Streets Have Names: Learning from Bono's Facebook Dilemma.More at

3. A tie between the married couple of social media mavens Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer. Although Kristie gets style points on presentation at while Chris had some interesting front-page content at

4. Serial entrepreneur Ted Murphy battles hard for this spot. Based in Florida, Ted has founded six companies since 1994 and his latest venture, IZEA operates a variety of social media properties including PayPerPost, the world's largest Consumer Generated Advertising Network. Founded in June of 2006, IZEA has raised over $10 million in venture funding while attracting over 140,000 bloggers and 16,000 advertisers and continues to grow. Murphy is also Executive Producer and star of RockStartup, an online docu/reality television show about running a startup. The show can be downloaded via iTunes or found online at

Despite his many accomplishments, however, Ted, is nosed out by New Yorker Julia Allison, a weekly columnist and co-founder of Described as being a "handful" both personally and professionally, Julia has been characterized as a cross between Paris Hilton and Ayn Rand. She has made over 350 on-air appearances in the past year alone, including spots on CNN, MSNBC, Vh1, E!, CBS, NBC, CW, FoxNews, and others. Julia has a Facebook account, a Myspace page, a Flickr, a Twitter, a Friendfeed, four Tumblrs, three Movable Type blogs, two Vimeos, one YouTube and a photogenic white shih-tzu named Marshmallow.

Her father is still waiting for her to get a “real job”.

5. Last, (but we may have saved the best for this spot!) is PEI social media maverick Amber MacArthur (AmberMac) who made a New Brunswick appearance with her presence at the last ThirdTuesday event in Moncton. Amber is best described as a new media journalist and web strategist, formerly of world-famous Razorfish, in San Francisco, and has worked on projects for Microsoft, Adobe, HP and Bell. Recently, she sent shock waves through the social media landscape by quitting her Toronto TV gig ... on principle.

Kudos Amber for standing up for what you believe in. More about the Charlottetown native at

Having spent about two decades employed in the media-industrial complex that is radio & television, social media has become a recent subject of fascination, especially since I can't help but wonder if we aren't seeing history repeat itself. Radio struggled to find its voice in the 1920's and television of the early 1950's was anything but slick. Early programming smacked of amateur hour as everyone from Uncle Charlie with his ukulele and Aunt Mabel's macrame demonstrations would entertain audiences that hungered for anything being broadcast on the one or two signals that were available at the time. If there is a difference in the 21st century Digital Economy, two factors come to mind. Since there are so many choices available to anyone consuming media these days, the strength and relevance of the message itself becomes crucial to anyone seeking to attract and hold an audience.

It's been an eye-opener learning more about what Kevin, Brian, Kristie, Chris, Ted, Julia and AmberMac are up to and how they influence opinion through their work in cyberspace. Hopefully, you will have a chance to Digg in yourself and see what these folks are doing to trigger "a-ha" moments that may reshape your business and the direction your brand is taking.

TSB is more than aware there are many other deserving candidates for the "Oprah of Social Media" crown.

And more than ready to hear you weigh in with your thoughts.

"Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression"

p.s...With a little more Digg-ing, a deeper, more penetrating look at Kevin Rose could be discovered through an intrepid reporter that would make even Mike Wallace crack a smile:


Scott Hepburn | PRstore | Marketing. Simplified. said...

Thanks for posting this, Gair. That's a great list, and the videos are a knock-out addition.

Thanks, too, for the Marshall McLuhan quote at the end. That's a throwback to my early days in comms school, and a reminder to spend a little more time reading the work of a game-changing writer.

GeekMommy said...

er, just a note - but while any of the guys could easily be the "Jerry Springer" or "Maury Povich" of Social Media... they don't belong in the "Oprah" contest.

Sorry - but men and women DO do it differently.

Otherwise? Great article! :)

Gair Maxwell said...

Actually the "Oprah" title is intended to be gender neutral and signfiy supremacy status in terms of being a "go-to" type of influencer ...

In other words, which blogger has that level of sway with a sizeable enough audience that they can influence the opinions and actions of an entire tribe ...

I would tend to think Oprah Winfrey is #1 in that category on television. I am still wondering who will emerge with that "title" in the rapidly expanding world of social media...


IZEA said...

Thanks so much for featuring us, and our fearless leader on your list!

Just to update your readers, our network of bloggers is actually now at 225k, and our advertiser base is over 25,000. Thought you'd like to know!

Again, thanks for including us on your list.

Chris said...

Kristie and I are really flattered to be on your list Gair, but we don't have nearly close to the pull that the rest of the list has - we're just happy to help people when we can and live a happy life out here, share some laughs and keep learning something new everyday. That said, we do try to style some of our events after great talk show stars with one of us running around the audience with a microphone and trying out some wisecracks now and again.

MySkinConcierge said...

We have a new Oprah of Social Media! It is @BrokeSocialite or www.thebrokesocialite She is currently being called Ms. Martha Winfrey!

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