Today the world dies a little.
Ashton Kutcher has defeated CNN in the race to one million Twitter followers*. Yuck. But let’s think about what it actually means: not much. Twitter is a social networking site, and not particularly effective for delivering actual news written by people who know what they’re talking about. CNN admits that they didn’t even own their Twitter account until Wednesday, when they took it over from a British web developer. So, in some sense one can say that it’s more a matter of Ashton Kutcher winning the race to define what Twitter is even supposed to be, which is a platform for people who don’t care about the news to know what people like Ashton Kutcher are up to, i.e. Twitter is stupid. Where it starts to get :(, though, is not the victory itself, but who the victory belongs to, and how that person is allowed to voice his own insane thoughts about what the victory means. From the AP:
In a live webstream as he neared the winning post, the actor — sporting a upturned Panama hat — described the race as the “establishment” versus “we the people.”
Right. Ashton Kutcher, total everyman. Just a totally normal man in an upturned Panama hat representing all of us in a fight against Big News.
And it only gets worse from there:
“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,” he said.
This is just really unfortunate. Obviously, we can all get a little Mos Def at times thinking about how the news is created, how we’re dependent on the subjectively biased selective reporting of a handful of human beings with their own sensitivities and hang ups and pressures. And that’s not something to stop thinking about or to get complacent about, because those issues will always be involved in the mass diffusion of information.
But it goes without saying, even though I’m going to say it, that ASHTON KUTCHER IS NOT THE FUCKING RESPONSE TO THAT. The two most famous instances of his Twittering, which have managed to actually become widely circulated beyond his select group of Twitter followers, were a fight he picked with his neighbors over a noisy renovation project because it made it hard to sleep in, and a picture of Demi Moore’s ass. Perfect. WE’RE DOING IT, YOU GUYS! WE CONTROL THE NEWS!
I’ll just be over here controlling this gun full of suicide bullet pointed at my face.
*It is rumored that Ashton Kutcher cheated in his drive for a million followers by disabling users’ ability to UNfollow him. So put that in your anti-establishment pipe and choke on it.