By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)
Among my many lists on Twitter – which include such topics as Literary, Creatives, New York, and Fashion – there’s one list I’m particularly embarrassed about: Red Carpet. This is the motley crew of celebrities that I follow on twitter, a group that places Ice-T next to Taylor Swift, Alyson Hannigan next to Andrew W.K., and a miscategorized Chuck Klosterman next to DJ Pauly D.
Nothing explains the thrill of being re-tweeted by your favorite TV cop, or the disappointment of not being thanked after complimenting your favorite weatherman. When I was younger, I remember sending fan mail and magazine collages (artfully done, in my opinion) to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and getting a pre-printed letter back saying that he did indeed receive my correspondence, and while he doesn’t have time to respond to each piece of mail, he is grateful for my support and here’s an autographed 8×10 from JTT with love. Now the social web directly connects fans with their idols, so that I can trade one-liners with Demetri Martin, or get style advice from Stacy London almost instantly, without the anxiety of feeling that your letter’s been lost in the mail or in a PR agency’s wastebasket. Earlier this year, we wrapped up a week-long series on social media with a case study on how one celebrity uses Twitter. The argument is that for better or for worse, celebrities are empowering themselves by using Twitter to communicate directly with their fans.
This is why Twitter appointed Omid Ashtari as their official liaison to the stars, according to All Things Digital’s Liz Gannes. Ashtari is a former agent and business development executive at Creative Artists Agency, and will be joining Twitter to strengthen the microblogging platform’s use by the rich and famous. According to Gannes:
“Ashtari’s assignment is ‘Entertainment Business Development’ and he ‘will lead efforts to assist the entertainment industry, including actors, musicians, and athletes, to make sure they are getting the most out of their use of Twitter. Omid will be based in Los Angeles, CA, but the scope of the job is global.'”
Not only will Ashtari handle celebrities, but he’ll work closely with Hollywood media companies on Twitter-based campaigns, such as live tweeting during awards shows and other high-profile events. As of right now, there isn’t a lot of information available on the Wed about Omid Ashtari – which is why I decided to follow him on Twitter. Still, he provides little insight into the man behind what should be a lucrative initiative for Twitter.
It being the holidays, I decided to compose a wish list of things I’d like to see Omid Ashtari achieve in his new role.
- Promote Twitter petitions (twititions, if you will) to save/resurrect programming that is no longer on the air
- Help the entertainment industry mine social media to find undiscovered talent, the same way it has through YouTube
- Encourage media companies to offer exclusive content to Twitter followers and groups
- Organize Twitter press conferences, which allows the fans to join news & tabloid media in interview sessions
- An official list of verified celebrities on Twitter, updates on closed accounts, and a watchdog list for impersonators
- Twitter-based mentor programs linking aspiring screenwriters/producers with the industry’s top talent
- Links to suggested content based on commonly used hashtags (like Pandora or Amazon)
- Twitter functionality that allows users to access theater locations/showtimes
- Concentrated effort to support fine arts, such as dance, theater, literary, and visual arts
- Ability to embed video, music tracks, and other rich media within a tweet without a 3rd party app
What do you make of Ashtari’s new role within Twitter Inc.? Do you have a wishlist of things you’d like to see him do as a business development executive?