Actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) became the first twitter user to achieve a million (1,000,000) followers at 6.12 UTC today. He narrowly beat CNN breaking news (@cnnbrk) which had overtaken the Barack Obama twitter account as the world’s most popular in the last few months. CNN became the second account with a million followers just under half an hour later . Both users had been heavily promoting their race to a million, Kutcher using UStream.tv and CNN using their own broadcast channel. The Huffington Post carried a live counter and follower graph that looked like something from a US presidential election.
This milestone confirms a number of observations about twitter as a ‘channel’.
- On-line popularity is linked to off-line popularity – both Kutcher and CNN are hardly unknown.
- Twitter can be a broadcast channel. It is neither the principal function nor does it reflect twitter’s flexibilty but if enough people subscribe to a feed you can ‘broadcast’ information and links.
- Twitter works as a news feed – lots of traditional news meda are bulding large follower numbers. Group them together and you have a powerful customisable news channnel.
- Twitter is now firmly part of the celebrity PR portfolio.
For those that say that twitter is just this year’s social web fad it’s not about to fizzle out just yet.