Okay, maybe calling actress Brea Grant a social-media pioneer is a little strong. On the other hand, pretty much everyone and their aunt goes around calling themselves a social-media “expert” or “guru,” and I think Brea has as much claim to the term pioneer as anyone, at least in the acting world. She may not be a household name — except perhaps for fans of the TV show Heroes, where she plays Daphne Millbrook, the “Speedster” character — but she is doing her best to use social media to her advantage. And the best part is that she is doing it herself (with the help of a Web-savvy college friend) rather than having PR people do it for her.
Brea has a great website and blog, and she is also active on Twitter. She’s not the only actor from Heroes to start Twittering, either — Greg Grunberg, who plays the mind-reader Matt Parkman on the show, also has an account (where he spends a lot of time talking about his all-star band, the Band From TV, which includes Grunberg on drums, Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives on vocals and child star Brad Savage on bass). Brea has also been giving interviews to more than just the usual Entertainment Tonight type of outlets, including one with social-media guru Chris Brogan, in which she talks about the difficulties of being a public figure online, and even one with a home-made TV show called Bradman TV.
For her latest trick, Brea is setting up an online “Twitterview,” in which she has asked people to send her questions by posting them on Twitter and tagging them #bglive, or by showing up on Twitter at 7 p.m. (PST) on November 18, when she will also be broadcasting the whole thing on Ustream. I think this is smart — instead of having to sit for a traditional interview with dumb questions dreamed up by some producer, she gets to “crowd-source” her questions and answer them in real-time.
I should have mentioned that actress/writer/producer Felicia Day is also a social-media ninja. The star of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Joss Whedon’s online musical comedy Dr. Horrible — as well as her own show The Guild — is active on Twitter and on her blog, and (geek bonus points) is also an avid gamer. Got any other candidates? Feel free to drop them in the comments.