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Ashton Kutcher vs CNN – should I care who wins?

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At the risk of sounding like Social Media version of someone’s grandad, do you remember the days when Robert Scoble was top of the Twitter charts? Do you remember? You kids don’t know this but at the time his 25,000 followers were blamed for service outages. 25,000 was a lot in those days and Twitter couldn’t handle the load of all his followers looking at his updates at the same time on Twhirl. You won’t remember Twhirl. It was like those “Tweetdecks” that you kids use now but more green and with smaller text.

Ah May 2008. I remember it like it was only last year. How things have changed since then.

The battle for 1,000,000 followers is on.

Currently, the CNN breaking news twitter feed is Top of the Twops (not ‘arf) with 967,979 followers. Hot on the heels of this broadcasting giant is one man who likes to tweet. So which wit, which philosopher, which inspirational human being is deemed so important by the new Twitter masses that he or she has 959,259 followers and is challenging a global news corperation?

Ashton Kutcher.

(Note to self: try, really try not to be snooty)

So now Ashton, aided by Electronic Arts, is campaiging for followers so that he can overtake CNN and win the race to the big one oh oh oh oh oh oh.

Says Ashton:

“When I saw that I was approaching a million and that CNN was too, I thought this was really significant for social media. For one person to have the ability to broadcast to as many as people as a major media network, I think signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social news outlets.

“Because with our video cameras on our cell-phones, on our picture cams, with our blogging, with our twittering and our posting and our Facebook accounts we actually become the sources of the news, and the broadcasters of the news and the consumers of the news. We have the potential on this day to turn the tide.”

Ashton Kutcher’s stance as the ‘everyman’ is a bit galling. As one YouTube commenter rather crudely put it:

He’s not the “everyman” you c**t muffin. He’s a fu**ing celebrity. His dumb face is all over every printed media.

Quite. Thanks to interestingperson121 for that quote. I added the asterisks.

I do like the fact that Ashton Kutcher seems to care about social media as well as the promotion he gets out of it. He obviously does all his updates himself and he also gets involved with video blogging on Qik and YouTube and… well I admit it: I dislike him a lot less then I used to. At least I don’t have to watch him acting when he’s on Twitter.

But I don’t really agree with him that his having 1,000,000 followers is a triumph of social media. It’s still a single source broadcasting to many. So it doesn’t matter if that source is CNN or Ashton Kutcher. In fact, if I had to pick one as the only twitter stream I could follow I’d plump for CNN. They really do have a lot of content. That’s why they are a news network.

The point is I don’t have to choose. I can follow as many people as I like and get content from them all. Whether it’s the BBC or a mate from work doesn’t really matter. I pick my crowd from which to source my wisdom.

And you know what? It goes two ways. I can tell people stuff I find interesting. It might be stuff i’ve found on the web or even thoughts that have formed in my own brain.

That’s many to many broadcasting. Throw in a dollop of conversation and that’s social media.

Update 1: You can read a blow by blowaccount of the battle so far in a great series of posts in techcrunch by MG Seigler.

Update 2: If you’d asked me six months ago who would be the first to a million followers, I’d have said it would be between Stephen Fry and Barack Obama.

Since then two things have happened.

1) Barack is now the president of the USA

Twitter was a great tool for him while he was campaigning but now his campaign tools don’t need quite so much attention. Apparently he’s too busy saving the world to let us know what he’s having for breakfast nowadays.

2) Twitter use by superstar celebrities has exploded.

Our Stephen, so revered among geeks and other early adopters, now languishes in the lower regions of the top thirty in the twitter charts thanks to more highly exposed celebs and the general public that follow them. Celebs, some of whom don’t even do their own updates like Britney Spears and Coldplay are above him. If that sounds snooty, it’s meant to.

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2 responses »

  1. Adding asterisks Daring!! What are you, The f**king Sun?

  2. Pingback: Kutcher wins - the video « Scene And Not Herd

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