Thursday, April 16, 2009

CNN and Ashton Kutcher Fight It Out on Twitter...

The race is officially on to become the first Twitter user with one million followers. Prizes are to be won, incentives to followers are to be dished out, and, in a worst case scenario, the primary players still get an awful lot of free publicity.

Basically, it's a PR agent's dream.

TechCrunch describes the events which are currently taking place...

A couple days ago, actor Ashton Kutcher stated his goal to beat CNN to be the first Twitter user with a million followers. He promised to punk CNN founder Ted Turner if the Internet made it happen. Yesterday, CNN anchor Larry King fired back at Kutcher saying that one man couldn’t take down a whole network.

Kutcher was still trailing CNN by tens of thousands of followers, so he upped the ante by offering his one millionth follower the popular game Guitar Hero. A pretty weak offering for a movie star. He later came back with an offer to buy 10,000 bed nets to help fight malaria in third world countries. Nice.

Additionally, Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that if Kutcher wins, they will put his 1 millionth follower in a future EA video game. That's expected to get the Twitter hoards motivated.

But TechCrunch also makes an interesting observation. The CNN Twitter account in question (@cnnbrk) isn't even associated with the CNN news network at all. It was created by a San Francisco-based man named James Cox, and that's why there are no links to CNN web pages in any of his tweets.

But in a fascinating twist, all of this hoopla surrounding the "fake" CNN account has led the "real" CNN to take advantage of all of the publicity. As the Silicon Alley Insider reports, CNN has officially purchased the Twitter account from Cox for an undisclosed sum. Considering that Cox created and nurtured it for two years, and gained more followers than any other Twitter account in existence, that sum ought to be pretty hefty.

Regardless of who wins this fight for a million followers, apparently everyone involved stands to benefit.


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