Kutcher wins Twitter war with CNN

April 22, 2009

When I first heard about Ashton Kutcher’s and CNN’s race to get a million followers on Twitter, I was amused. I was amused until I read what Ashton Kutcher said:

“I found it astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter,” Kutcher says. “So I just thought that was just kind of an amazing comment on the state of our media, and I said that, if I beat CNN to 1 million viewers, then I would ding-dong ditch Ted Turner — because I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”

About social media overturning traditional media, he says:

“I think it’s a huge statement about social media for one person to actually have the ability to broadcast to as many people as a major media network,” he said in a YouTube video.

“I think it sort of signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social media outlets, social news outlets,” Kutcher said.

“With our video cameras on our cellphones and our picture cams and our blogging and our Twittering and our posting and our Facebooking we actually become the source of the news and the broadcasters of the news and the consumers of the news.”

…and then he won:

“We can and will create our media,” he said.

Can you really? Can you really trust some blogger with no journalism background whatsoever to hold the U.S. government accountable?

I don’t think so. I think democracy is in trouble if wannabes are all we have left of the media.

That being said, I don’t think social media is a bad thing. I belong to almost every social networking site there is. I think it really enriches one’s experience and certainly helps with generating story ideas.

In my opinion, it supplements–not replaces–journalism.


  1. You have a point. I think, however,that it spreads beyond journalism. Thanks to the internet people today can do many things they could not do in the past. They can create almost any kind of media at home and distribute it fairly easily through the web. I think this is both good and bad. Good- because people can sound their voices and share their opinions. Bad – because there is no substitute for professionalism. There will always be room for pro journalists, even if the business model for newspapers has to change.
    P.S. off topic
    Good luck with the new blog and keep more posts coming!

  2. I like that idea – to supplement instead of replace.

  3. While conventional news outlets are important, I think you are right in that social media should supplement traditional journalism. And chances are that’s the way things will go down. To strike a historical analogy: the tv nor the internet failed to replace the traditional newspaper. That being said I think the social sites will put some of the harmful journalists in check. The truthful grassroots blog reporting will increasingly diminish the credibility of those that report with a partisan spin (*cough* *cough* Sean Hannity *cough* *cough*), and as the technological unsavvy fade away, so will the ratings of the unbalanced reporters.

  4. Jessica Davin

    First, book suggestion: Wattenberg’s “Is Voting For Young People?” It does a great job of highlighting why every generation has a lower voting turnout than the one before it. A lot of it has to do with the fact that newspapers reading phases out a little more every decade or so. It makes sense to me: people who don’t know what’s going on in the world aren’t likely to feel the need to participate in government.
    I was really enjoying the book until the second to last chapter when the author revealed that the rest of the book had just been a giant set up for his proposal that voting in the US should become mandatory. Ha… no. Just no.

    Second: This is why I get a little annoyed with a few of my friends who cannot see outside their own personal internet bubble. They get their news for free, watch music videos for free, read books online for free, and they think that this is the way it is supposed to be. If we’re not careful, we’re going to backtrack as a society, and all artistic pursuits will become not careers for anyone with a passion for the field, but hobbies for those who already have they time and money to spare.

    When did the high school cliques and gossip hounds become adequate substitution for journalists and scholars? This feels like a culturewide nerd-bashing. I’m sure the cast of Celebrity Fit Club could get more tweets than the laws of physics, but that doesn’t mean gravity is going to stop working. We’ll just stop acknowledging it, and THAT will probably work out just fine…

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