Today’s #FollowFriday is a little bit different. Elissa Freeman and I thought it’d be fun to list our five brain crushes…giving you 10 people to follow.

And, seeing as it’s the holiday weekend and I’m not going to write Gin and Topics today, I thought it was only fair to give you just a little bit more.

This started when I admitted I have a serious brain crush on Jeff Jarvis, the author of “What Would Google Do?” and The Buzz Machine.

So this is the result…10 people whose brains we love.

First…Elissa’s choices.

  1. Justin Goldsborough. When I found out Justin was only 32, I was kind of blown away – his insights in PR and social media are often sage-like. When he interviewed me for his vlog 52 Comms Mix-Up it was like a great first date – I could have talked and talked and talked. And? He loves food, travel, and his Kansas City Royals (well, he’s not perfect!).  The co-founder of the super-successful #p20chat, Justin’s the kind of PR agency guy you’d want to have leading your account. So, you could talk to him everyday and, of course,  swoon!
  2. Mitch Joel. There was quite a bit of buzz about my fellow Canadian in one of Gini’s posts – mainly how being bald makes him so smart.  And then someone chimed into to say how much they liked his podcast voice.  I think both are true. I heard Mitch speak as I was first exploring social media – and followed him immediately on Twitter. He didn’t follow me back until about a year later. Talk about stringing a girl along! Nevertheless, Mitch posts often and posts smart.  And you feel that much more ‘in the know’ after having read his words.
  3. Adam Vincenzini. Well, I lost my guest blogging cherry to Adam so naturally, he holds a special place in my heart. You need to know about the latest analytical tool or infographic? Adam knows. The European editor for PR Daily News, Adam also co-founded #CommsChat – modeled after popular North American chats about the issues PR pros, journalists, and bloggers should be thinking about. An Aussie with a sprinkling of Italian (and yes, we’ve Skyped before so I’ve heard that accent!) Adam is hard to resist!
  4. Jeff Esposito. I crush hard on Jeff’s shoot-from-the-hip style; he likes to stir it up. Anytime you encounter him in a Twitter chat, he’s the guy who digs deep on every question. A frequent tweeter, Jeff understands how to connect and influence via social media.  His sports knowledge is equally impressive and he can go toe-to-toe with the best.  Plus? He’s a dad – and he’s cute.
  5. Dan Perez. He loves life, his wife, and his work. And? He’s hot – as in muy caliente/latino/South Florida filmmaker hot. Smart guy, smarter blogger, and can’t cook worth a damn.  An #usguys guy. He loves my food (the pix anyways) and Amy Howell’s, enough that we get all hot and steamy about it…usually on Sunday nights. His blog is deep and thought-provoking.

And now, my turn…this is hard because I would have chosen the same as Elissa. And we already know I have a brain crush on Jeff Jarvis so I won’t add him below. So here goes. Different ones.

  1. Sheryl Sandberg. Even though she’s not of the social media world, in the sense that we all know one another on Twitter and Facebook. But she is the COO of Facebook and is one of the smartest women in the world. I was first introduced to her when she gave the commencement speech at Barnard. You can’t follow her on Twitter, but I do recommend you pay attention anytime she’s in the news. She’s smart, she’s inspiring, and she wants you (as a woman) to change the world.
  2. Jay Rosen. Jay is a professor at NYU, where he directs the Studio 20 program. He is a traditional journalism guy who has made the shift in a serious way. He critiques his former peers and makes recommendations on how an industry can progress instead of die. His blog, Press Think, isn’t updated often, but when it is, you always come away learning something.
  3. Jay Baer. While we’re on the name Jay, let’s talk about Jay Baer. I was complaining to him a few months ago about the website development process and he joked that all a web development firm has to do is answer the phone and deliver on time and they win. A-freaking-men. Jay is one of the first people I read in the blogosphere at Convince and Convert. I learn something new from him at least weekly. In fact, I keep some of his blog posts open for days as I implement some of what he’s taught. If you have any desire to up your game, he’s a must-read.
  4. Clay Shirky. Clay drives me nuts. He comes across as extremely arrogant and chauvinistic online. And, more often than not, he pisses me off. But he makes me think. A lot. I mean, to the point that I’m still stewing a couple of days later. And, even though I rarely agree with him, I appreciate that about him because he opens my mind and he makes me think. I think that’s the biggest issue with social media – when we disagree, we’re seen as combative. But I appreciate the debate; it makes me smarter. And Clay is bald. So perhaps Elissa is right about her bald theory.
  5. Danny Brown. I’ve had a brain crush (and maybe even a little real crush) on Danny for years. His brain works completely differently than mine so I always try to absorb as much as I can from him. I read his blog, I speak on panels with him, I join him for podcasts, and I look for reasons to work with him. He’s over-the-top creative and he makes me a better professional.

So there you have it. Ten people who are smart, funny, and combative. Who are your brain crushes?

P.S. There will not be a Gin and Topics today. I’m going to spend my afternoon getting ready for my nieces and nephew to visit, riding my bike, and writing some more of MY BOOK with Geoff Livingston (who is another brain crush, but you’re going to hear lots about him in the next year).

Have a happy holiday weekend!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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