It was April 13, 2009 when Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN.
If I beat CNN to 1 million followers I wll ding dong ditch Ted Turners house while I’m shotting in Atlanta http://bit.ly/BeKEC
— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) April 13, 2009
A ding dong ditch is when you ring someone’s doorbell and run away.
Ashton had about 850,000 followers and the news network had about 900,000. Confident he could reach the million mark before the network, Larry King accepted the challenge and the race was on.
Within three days, Ashton won.
The next day, Oprah sent her first tweet.
HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY .
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 17, 2009
It was a pivotal moment in the social networking service. I’d created my (first, now deleted) account on June 9, 2008 and naturally witnessed lots of bloggers who tended to be early adopters of technology with accounts. A handful of DC politicians were using it for constituent relations. Other than the tech-savvy entertainers (actor Wil Wheaton, musician MC Hammer, etc), the entertainment world was not really there. Most of my friends had no idea what it was, either. They still don’t.
But with Oprah getting on the site, as a direct result of the Ashton-CNN battle, mainstream media noticed and Twitter took off.
Fast forward and Katy Perry has 82.8 million followers today. She’s the most-followed on the site.
Justin Bieber has 75 million, Taylor Swift has 71 million, President Obama has 69 million, YouTube has 59 million, Rihanna has 56 million, Lady Gaga has 55 million, Ellen DeGeneres has 54 million, Twitter (ironically) has 52 million, and, rounding out the top ten followed, Justin Timberlake has 51 million.
As for Ashton and CNN today, he has 17 million followers and their primary account has 23 million.
I have about 2100 followers. I’m getting there. You can follow me here.