The day started like any other day, sitting tired on SkyTrain on my way to work, when I happen to catch the headline on the newspaper of the commuter in front of me. Â "Kutcher's race to a million twitter followers." Â With peaked intrest I pulled out my iPhone and read some more about it. Â Ashton Kutcher had some 9 hundred something thousand followers on Twitter, and was close behind CNN in the number one position. Â Both were approaching 1 million so I guess it seemed to be the likely target. Â After watching Ashton's YouTube video ( BTW: I love my iPhone 3G ) I was a little perturbed by Ashton's claim that his reaching 1 million followers would somehow signal a new age because (heavy paraphrasing here) "... an everday person has a greater reach than the media conglomerate ... ". Â My problem was with the claim that Ashton was somehow representive of 'everone', not that I have anything against him, but he has a great deal more celebrity than most will ever achieve, so he hasn't lived in the 'everyman' world for quite awhile. Â My immediate reaction was simple: "Fuck him, I'll do it first! I'll beat 'em both, because I AM everyman!".
When I got to work, I ran the idea past a couple co-workers, and they were supportive, so I went to Twitter and created a new account http://twitter.com/Power2TheTweepl ( Ashton had used the term 'Power to the people" in his YouTube video ). Next I proceeded to follow everyone I was really following in my other 'real' account, careful not to follow myself first and give away my real identity.
I then sent an email to the team @nitobi and told them what I had started, and giving them a call to action to get the word out. Â I got some great recommendations for profile images (#1, #2) from Brian, but in the end chose to go a different way. Â I immediately got some follows from the team, and some retweets of my initial messages, and I was off to the races.
I spent some time following people, strangers really, hoping they would follow me back ... and alot did. Â I chose people to follow by going after twitter users who had large numbers of followers, jumping to their 'followers' page and haphazardly clicking follow ( I love Ajax! ) Â I didn't spend a lot of time on this, as I also have a job to do, but did learn some stuff, which I'll get to.
Ashton eclipsed CNN at about 7:00 PM and around 11:00 PM PST, Ashton reached a million followers. This isn't a news report, so if you want the details of what happened, check it out here. Â I was able to get 130 followers, including @NitobiMouse.
Okay, the lessons.
- if you follow a stranger they will usually follow you back, at least for a little while.
- if you follow someone who has no followers, you might scare them, and they might send you a message saying something like 'Why are you following me?' Â ( Oprah's followers are heavy in this category )
- twitter is still new to A LOT of people.
- twitter is pretty amazing when you think about how vast the system is. (I only saw ~8 fail whales)
- does this matter? Who cares!
- I'm not as popular as Ashton Kutcher ( yet... )Â
- Ashton is donating Mosquito nets to Africa, so some good is coming from all this.
While writing this I got 8 new follows, so I may still keep the account active, we'll see. Â Also, I was not the only person to have this reaction, @TotalNobody had the same idea ...
My final thought. Â Tomorrow, Oprah will be posting her first tweet live on her show, so Twitter is becoming less social and more of a platform everyday. Â Not sure if this is a good thing, a bad thing, or if it is even a thing.