Update: Kutcher Twitter Million

18 04 2009

Ashton Kutcher used conventional advertising, billboards to be precise, to gain victory over CNN in his twitter sprint to a million followers.  Lamar Advertising, in a PR coup for the traditional ad network, delivered free of charge “Follow Ashton Kutcher” outdoor ads across its 1,133 digital billboards. 

With Kutcher appearing on Oprah within hours of passing the million mark, this seems like a carefully co-ordinated integrated PR campaign.  Even twitter has been fingerered with the accusation that they made it hard for users to unfollow @aplusk (Kutcher’s twitter handle).





Kutcher Beats CNN to Twitter Million

17 04 2009

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.





Obama – I’ve Started…so I’ll Finish?

4 03 2009

In the last 24 hours Barack Obama’s Twitter has been ousted from the number one spot.  His 352,531 followers have been eclipsed by CNN’s breaking news feed @cnnbrk.  The reason is quite simple, since winning the presidential election the feed has had just two updates, and neither were posted by the president himself.

During the election campaign many of Obama’s tweets were in the first person, possibly posted by him on the ubiquitous campaign Blackberry.  It has presumably been decided that it is un-presidential to tweet.

What does this mean for the administration that pioneered engagement through social media as a key part of an election campaign? There is the new ObamaNews feed but it isn’t personal so it’s not really in keeping with the medium and it has just 24,000 followers at present, less than that of the average self respecting stand up comedian.  

In four years Obama will have to go to the people again. Will it be credible if he starts to engage once more at the point that he is looking for the popular vote, or will he leave that to his opponent? (It may be too late for McCain but he has added 50,000 Twitter followers in the last week). This is a serious question; is engagement with the people something that is just to be done during elections or does the social web mean that politicians can and more importantly should engage directly with their electorate whilst they are in office.  A tweet or two a week wouldn’t be too onerous even for the leader of the free world.








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