The Los Angeles Times’ David Sarno has the strange story behind the @cnnbrk, CNN Twitter account that is nearing a million followers: CNN just acquired ownership of the account from 25-year-old London Web developer James Cox, who’d been running it since January 2007 with CNN’s permission and oversight.
Larry King has made a humorous YouTube video rising to Kutcher’s challenge to meet up on the web to discuss the race to a million Twitter followers declared by Kutcher against CNN:
"Hey Kutcher!" King says. "Do you think you can take on an entire network? Do you know how big we are?" But King says he’ll play Kutcher’s game: "You come on my show, I’ll go on your — Twitter, or whatever it is you do."
King also points out that Ted Turner does not run CNN any more, but says "there is a strong possibility he would participate."
King concludes that he is "looking forward to be part of this whole Twitter scene."
Meanwhile, Kutcher has offered to donate 10,000 malaria nets if he gets to a million before CNN.
But as TechCrunch points out, pouring some cold water on this latest feel-good Twitter story, untold numbers of those followers are bots, anyway.
Ashton Kutcher’s latest role: Media critic.
He tweeted Tuesday morning that he’s been invited to appear on "Larry King Live" to discuss his challenge to CNN founder Ted Turner: If he got to a million Twitter followers before CNN did, he’d "ding dong ditch" Ted Turner’s house. The actor currently has 859,949 people following his feed, while CNN has 922, 599.
Now, Kutcher has posted a video on his qik.com page in which he quite rationally analyzes the situation — and presents some big-picture views about changes in the media that old media tycoons like Turner would do well to listen to.
"It’s just astonishing that one person can actually have as much of a voice online as an entire company on Twitter," Kutcher says as he drives a car. "I just thought it was an amazing comment on the state of our media."
But the kicker comes a few minutes later, as Kutcher considers whether to go on Larry King’s show, then decides that — wait a minute — why doesn’t Larry King come on Ashton Kutcher’s web show on qik.com?
It’s not just a throwaway suggestion. That wrenching sound you hear may just be a paradigm shifting. Why, indeed, should Ashton Kutcher have to go play in CNN’s old-media playground, instead of hosting the game in his own?
"We’ll post it on Twitter," Kutcher says of the potential visit from Larry King to his web show. "We’ll get Ted Turner to call in."
Still, as eye-opening as all this might be about changes in the media, one hopes that Kutcher isn’t actually questioning the value of professional newsgatherers — maybe he could have reined in slightly this tweet, which suggests that you can trust information on Twitter in the exact same way you trust the news: "My dad always said "I’ll believe when I hear it from the horses mouth." twitter is the horses mouth. no more "well the news said…"
Well, we can only hope Ted Turner — or Larry King — will be up to the challenge of explaining why CNN and Twitter might coexist interestingly, but are not interchangeable.