It all happened quite suddenly (at least from my standpoint). One day Twitter said it was hiring its first Canadian staffer. The next day the company said an announcement was imminent and the next day it announced it had hired Kirstine Stewart to head up its soon-to-be-established Toronto office. Or so it seemed.
Make no mistake – this is a massive piece of news and one that deserves scrutiny.
Kirstine joins Twitter from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) where she was executive vice-president of its English language service, having joined the organization back in 2006. From the news release announcing her departure, it seems as if she’d been very happy there – and this begs a most interesting question --- why, did she leave.
I may be wrong – (and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been wrong before) but I think it’s for two possible reasons:
- I’m not sure what Kirstine made at the CBC, and although likely hefty, it pales in comparison to what she’ll be making at Twitter – by an order of magnitude
- Kirstine acutely understands the blurring of the lines between the old and new media, as good, if not better than anyone else --- and as such, Twitter are paying her boatloads of money to place some very big bets. Quite possibly, to note is that Kirstine was no longer having fun at CBC – a possibility
“This is an exciting time for social media in Canada,” said Alicia Brum, Branch Manager for the Creative Group, a division of Robert Half International. “In fact, according to our recent survey, advertising and marketing executives expect companies to increase their investment in social media sites, such as Twitter."
After Kirstine has identified a new office space for Twitter Canada (presumably somewhere in one of Toronto’s trendier ‘hoods), she’ll begin to build her team – her way – and without the bureaucracy that she may have encountered at the CBC. And I think this is going to be interesting, particularly as it relates to the autonomy she may (or my not) get from the company’s San Francisco HQ.
“We continue to see a demand for social media professionals with experience in managing branded online communities, especially those with an analytics background who help clients measure ROI," continued Brum.
You know – I've never spoken to Kirstine, no less met her and I certainly did not interview her for this piece –but I like her style. Yeah, I know she came under fire at CBC and I’m somewhat sad for the CBC. Sad because there are so few women execs at the top of the Canadian TV game. Mostly it seems like a club – an old boys club. Really, when you come to think of it, I’m not that surprised that she left the CBC. It was a brutally hard job – and that she dealt with some pretty big bullets for a long time is testament to her perseverance. I also wonder a time or two about the sexism and spite that may have been thrown her way that might have propelled her to leave and take the gig at Twitter. You just never know.
I think Kirstine’s a good hire – on the surface not an obvious one , but I think good.
Why? Well, she’ll blend her old school, traditional media expertise with Twitter’s brave new frontier and for sure look at ways of monetizing their plane.
My prediction? Kirstine will either sink or swim in this new and very exciting high profile role - there’s no middle ground here at all. Give her six months and she’ll be swimming strongly. And as for me – I’m going to get back to Tweeting.
Peace – and Carpe Diem