Friday, April 17, 2009


Ashton punks Twitter

If you're online and into Web 2.0, you've probably heard about Ashton Kutcher's Twitter challenge with CNN. Twitter is going crazy with this with people are on both sides of the argument. Personally, I am on the "con" side of this publicity stunt. Here's why:

On the surface, this is great for Twitter. Getting mainstream coverage is huge for the growth of Twitter and getting its name in traditional media is vital to its success. Although "big names" on Twitter is nothing new - see @tonyhawk @the_real_shaq, the recent press definitely helps. Heck, even @oprah is on now. So in that sense, this is good for Twitter. However, I don't think this does anything to prove the value of Twitter.

Yes, this shows that Twitter is popular and that messages move quickly on Twitter; but it doesn't show the true value behind Twitter. In my opinion, the true value of Twitter is the ability to share knowledge and create relationships. Others may use it for something else. This "challenge" does nothing to show Twitter's unique ability for a person to interact and form relationships. In fact, I'd go on the record to say that Ashton's quest for 1 million followers is nothing more than him saying "I'm more important than you, so follow me."

News came out early today that Ashton did in fact reach 1 million before CNN. So now what? What was the goal of reaching 1 million? Simply to say you did it first? It's my belief that this had nothing to do with a challenge, rather simply a publicity stunt. And it was quite brilliant. Do you think it was merely a coincidence that Ashton started to up his Twitter activity around the same time he's shooting a movie? Again, I think it's quite brilliant. But it goes against all that's Twitter (that could be another post).

In the end, all this "challenge" did was reinforce that fact that Americans are obsessed with celebrities and those who are "famous." Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake - all could have achieved this same result had they decided to go public. It doesn't prove the strength or influence of Ashton, nor does it indicate anything about Twitter.

The icing on the cake? He took out a billboard! Lame and desperate, in my opinion.

Your thoughts?

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