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Ebert's Year in Social Media: Thumbs Up And Down

  |  June 21, 2011   |  Comments

Film critic Roger Ebert has trouble avoiding Twitter hornet's nest.

33ebertRoger Ebert seems to love social media, but does it love him back? It's debatable, as one of America's strongest personal journalism brands has had one of the strangest years on Twitter and Facebook.

Ebert yesterday made waves by tweeting "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive." The Twitter comment was made in the wake of "Jackass" actor Ryan Dunn dying in a car accident hours after he tweeted a photo of himself drinking a beer.

This morning, Ebert tweeted that his Facebook Page had been taken down. Around 9 am ET, his Twitter message read: "Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks." His Page has since been restored.

Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes suggested to ClickZ News via email that temporary page removal was unrelated to the Dunn controversy. He wrote, "The page was removed in error. We apologize for the inconvenience."

It's the latest incident in which Ebert appears to have entered a Twitter hornet's nest. In January, he tweeted "I'd rather be called a Nigger than a Slave," protesting the decision by a publisher of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" to replace the word "nigger" with "slave" in all instances in the Mark Twain classic. He eventually apologized on Twitter for upsetting people with the language.

Ebert also tested Amazon affiliate marketing on Twitter from November 2010 until March, only to pull the plug on the initiative.

Why'd he quit? Some of his 479,000 Twitter followers and 58,000 Facebook "likers" accused him of shilling for products. Ebert had pitched books about Alfred Hitchcock, packaged goods like O.N.E. coconut water, and New Balance sneakers.

ClickZ News sent Ebert questions about the Amazon endeavor, which he answered on his Chicago Sun Times blog in a piece dubbed, "What's the deal with those Amazon tweets?" The film critic went into great lengths describing how he ran his Amazon-Twitter program. For instance, his response to a question about how he was financially compensated as an affiliate was 829 words long.

But that early January blog has since been removed from his archives.

Strange indeed.


Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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