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  • Writer's pictureCherise Adams

The Short List of Thought Leaders in Unusual Spaces That No One Asked For

Updated: May 23, 2021

Last week, I ask you if you felt influenced by those around you, particularly on social media. I proudly boasted my complete lack of outside influence on any significant ideas or topics... and it was a bald-faced lie. Technically, it was an unintentional lie, but a lie nonetheless. It turns out, according to the popular Two-Step Flow Theory, I am heavily influenced by opinion leaders around me who have platforms that they use to share information. While I might not be purchasing Kim K's skinny tea or the hottest grassroots clothing brand, opinion leaders can be big or small but still make a monumental impact. As I've considered the theory, I figured I'd share some examples that come to mind when I think of opinion leaders. I get my news from Twitter and Youtube, so the information I prefer to source is niche. Here are some of my favorites.

Caitlin, a death icon.

Caitlin Doughty - Ask A Mortician

Caitlin is my guide for all things morbid and death-related. As a practicing mortician and co-founder of The Order of the Good Death, Caitlin has shares knowledge that empowers her audience to develop a positive attitude around the idea of death, an attitude that is long gone as "the death industry" moved from home-grown to corporate. She has been so influential to me that I am now a huge advocate for natural burial practices. Why does a twenty-something-year-old need to be up-to-date on the latest in the death industry? Don't worry about that... here's the next influencer.

Kid Fury & Crissle - The Read Podcast

Let me be very clear: I DO NOT WATCH THE REAL HOUSEWIVES. However, I love a recap! Every Tuesday, I live my life with The Read podcast playing in the background, laughing to myself about the pop culture highlights and recaps that Kid Fury and Crissle share. Their commentary is hilarious and powerful: they were instrumental in Missy Elliot getting the 2019 MTV Video Vanguard Award and were recently signed by Issa Rae on a comedy album, hoping to revive the old media form. In their section Black Excellence each week, they highlight a young black person doing great things and how the community can support them. Because everyone deserves a good laugh, here is a fun snippet from one of their live episode that formerly aired on Fuse. Be warned, there is explicit language ahead.

Brianne Fleming - #PopChat on Twitter (@Brianne2k)

Yes, I'm actively following one of the UFL digital strategy professors on Twitter #Noregrets. Brianne is a thought leader in digital brand strategy and hosts #PopChat every Friday and the podcast Making the Brand. She utilizes her love for the 90s and early 2000s pop culture to muse on mass media in the digital space. She's also a big Taylor Swift fan, but I won't hold that against her.

Brianne bringing solutions to the (digital) world's problems.

There are so many more I could mention, from Kevin Espiritu at Epic Gardening to Youtube Legend Anthony Padilla. Thought leaders are all around us, serving as expert decoders for the information we see every day, helping the masses understand the world's complexities.

Who are your favorite though leaders in unusual spaces?

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