Ashton Kutcher Beats CNN in Twitter Contest

Ashton Kutcher: Let freedom ring!

Ashton Kutcher: I have changed the world!

Celebrity Ashton Kutcher beat CNN to one million followers on Twitter late last night.  CNN reached the mark about 30 minutes later.  Kutcher is the first person to have that many followers on the social networking site. And, of course, bloggers beat the mainstream media to announce the “news.”

Kutcher in a live video declares his victory as the web vs. the world and says his win will “change media forever.”  He also calls CNN the establishment – as if a wealthy mainstream movie actor is anything isn’t (all the while bickering with his wife Demi Moore in the background).  This is victory?  You can watch the video at Inquisitr.

“This is David versus Goliath,” Kutcher told CNN. “This just shows how people want to get information. It is about us. It means that one man can have a voice as loud as a media network.”

Pete Cashmore at Mashable sees this as a victory for social media:

“But mainstream media is increasingly becoming an echo of social media, allowing YouTube’s masses to define what matters (Susan Boyle, the Domino’s Pizza scandal) and mirroring that public sentiment.

For now, Twitter needs mainstream media more than mainstream media needs Twitter. But Ashton has an audience of 1 million at his fingertips: how much longer will the talent need its mainstream middleman.”

While I agree with Kutcher and Cashmore that social media is indeed changing the world, it has nothing to do with publicity stunts between international broadcasters and Hollywood celebrities.  It’s about allowing people to bypass media establishments and communicate with the world directly.  It gives companies the chance to interact directly with customers.  It gives ideas a chance to blossom faster – and without filters.

But for Kutcher to take credit for this social media revolution (even symbolically) is patently ridiculous.

MG Siegler on TechCrunch gets it right:

“A million users is significant only in that it means Twitter is hugely popular — which we already knew. And that it’s getting taken over by celebrities — which a lot of us saw coming. Much more interesting will be when some non-celebrity feed passes a million followers. But it may be a long time before that happens. The name of the game on Twitter is self promotion, and celebrities have a huge advantage in that department over regular folks.”

4 Responses to “Ashton Kutcher Beats CNN in Twitter Contest”

  1. I agree. I don’t have anything against any of the people involved in this whole mess – because when EA Games jumped in to offer Kutcher’s 1,000,000th follower to be in the next EA Game, and when Kutcher offered to donate nets to the foundation to fight Malaria in Africa, and when Larry King joined Twitter, and when people started creating fake Twitter accounts to follow Kutcher… etc, etc… that’s EXACTLY what this became… a sloppy mess – I too believe that this stunt isn’t a win for social media, or Twitter, at all. In fact, it’s an example of someone abusing the sphere by not contributing to the conversations that are taking place but rather using it selfishly and with no end to his means.

    The fact that Oprah is making a big deal out of this mess – now that’s just upsetting. She should know better than to encourage this meaningless buzz.

  2. Hi Andi:
    Great insights. I hadn’t heard about the fake accounts being created to follow Ashton, but its not surprising. I also thought it was a cynical to offer the mosquito nets to Africa – and at least one blogger thinks offers like this are more harmful than helpful:

  3. I can’t think of anyone less relevant than Ashton Kutcher. Except, maybe, Larry King.


  1. Twitter and the celebrity effect « Andi Narvaez - Down and Across - April 20, 2009

    […] Twitter – it help traffic grow and might finally lead to a profitable business model. My only beef (and I’m not alone) is the Kutcher stunt is will take credit for Twitter reaching this new milestone. Not the fact […]

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