Home > Idiots, Small Things I Blow Out Of Proportion > Who the junk is Ashton Kutcher?

Who the junk is Ashton Kutcher?

This article is a few days old, but I just noticed it. Shut up. It’s about some guy named Ashton Kutcher. I’ve never heard of him before, so he must be unimportant. Since I’m a real journalist, I did some research on him, and from what I understand he used to wear underwear in public, and then he played himself in the time-traveling sitcom That 70’s Show. Then he got high and lost his car, and now somehow he’s the most popular person on Twitter (his username is @aplusk)

The article from the LA Times is about a panel held recently with a bunch of “thought leaders” trying to figure out the future of social media:

how to pay for the journalism, music and entertainment that are now so thoroughly disrupted by technology

And someone asked who was getting it right. Catherine Hays, director of The Future of Advertising Project, said this Ashton Kutcher was.She said:

He has an amazing number of Twitter followers — the greatest number,

And she spoke of how he parlayed that newfound popularity into a social media consultancy.

[it’s a] mashup of entertainment, of him understanding a social media marketplace, of him creating mini-episodes, and providing different narratives for different media. It’s taking off. It’s very viral.

Okay, first of all, this woman who says Ashton Kutcher got it right is an idiot. The link provided in this story is to a facebook page, for crapdamn’s sake, and the ultra-professional page (which I’m sure Ashton coded himself) says that the “company” was founded in 2000. This was well prior to Ashton’s recent rush to a million Twitter followers, especially considering that Twitter didn’t exist in 2000 (I was on hip #3 at that point, I think).

Also? The Katalyst page only has 3,943 fans. Way to rally the troops, Ashton.

A mark of success is that he has his own social media consultancy? What the shit is that crap? What a meaningless thing. Look, I can say I’ve got a social media consultancy, does that mean I’m suddenly a success? No! It no more means I’m a success to say I’ve opened a social media consultancy than it does to say I’m a challenger to Dell because I’ve decided that my garage is computer manufacturing plant.

That’s like saying you’re a captain because you bought yourself a goddamn inflatable canoe. It’s idiotic.

Some folks, apparently those with half a brain, didn’t buy into Catherine Hays’ insane ramblings that Kelso is the future of all media.

The audience was not entirely convinced that Kutcher is the man to follow. “He was talented before he was on Twitter,” one man said. Another woman added, “It’s still the old model, he was just there first,” meaning that Kutcher still provides content for others to consume. The future, all seemed to agree, gives the consumers more control over the content and the advertising.

“We’re transitioning from old to new,” Hays said, “and he is kicking everyone’s ass, and look at him go.”

He got it right by doing what everyone else was doing before, and just happening to be the one that people paid more attention to? Shouldn’t “who’s getting it right” have been answered: “Kevin Rose, because he started a company that generated tremendous social capital, and he got Ashton Kutcher interested in Twitter, which led to Oprah getting on Twitter, turning it into much more of a mainstream phenomenon?” No, of course not, because that would require brain cells, and a greater understanding of the situation than nothing. I don’t know who Catherine Hays is, but reading what she says, I’m reminded of the television show CSI every time they show computers. They use some correct buzzwords, but if you have even the most cursory knowledge of the subject matter they’re dealing with, you realize how little they know, and how their tech vetting amounts to little more than fridge magnet poetry.

Catherine Hays has heard of a mainstream actor doing some stuff online, and assumes he must be some sort of savant. Well, Ashton Kutcher may indeed be that, but based on his choice of movies, “savant” shouldn’t be taken as a compliment.

Also, who cares if Ashton Kutcher has crossed over into obscurity? Just because an actor who was on a long-running TV show is embracing the web, that isn’t a victory for him or for the web. He already had a built-in fan base, and he was heavily featured on the suggested users list (which I wasn’t on, due to a number of technical glitches. Shut up, Ev Williams!) and he was already, with no involvement of his own, skyrocketing toward a million followers. The Suggested Users List, for those of you lucky enough not to know, was a list of Twitter users, which got presented to people when they signed up for the fascinating micro-blogging service. By default the names were checked, so millions of people with no idea what Twitter was, or even that their computer requires electricity would blindly click on the “Continue” button to finish signing up, and ta-da, would be following Kutcher.

Maybe we should all be touting negative billing as the “it” person in Social Media.

Combine the Suggested Users List, the existing fanbase Ashton had, and the mainstream media’s CSI-like understanding of technology, and you get a perfect storm of stupidity that carried Ashton Kutcher into the glorious land of 1,000,000 followers first. Only, don’t forget, he wasn’t the only one for very long, and there are a huge number of people with 1,000,000+ follower accounts. Do you know who these users are, Catherine Hays, you bastard? Mainstream celebrities. Your revolution is people who are already famous continuing to be famous? That’s sad and pathetic, and I think you should go sit in a corner and actually read about computers before you bother me again with your uninformed drivel.

Also, when Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a race to 1 million followers, he was so technically savvy that he didn’t realize the Twitter account he was challenging wasn’t even controlled by CNN at the time. That’s some pretty keen understanding of the media landscape, don’t you think?

All this makes me want to fill up my Depends with hot, goopy disgust.

Saying that what Ashton Kutcher did — using existing fame to get existing fans to follow him to a new location, going on a media junket to push his ’cause,’ attaching an actual cause (he promised to buy a bunch of anti-malarial mosquito nets if he beat CNN to the million-follower mark) to avoid looking like a staggering douchebag for caring so much about Twitter followers instead of anything even remotely important — is a big a deal is like saying that Joss Whedon somehow validated amateur efforts at making web videos with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Sure, lots of people care about both things, but if they weren’t already famous, both would’ve been non-stories.

So, please, if we’re talking about people who understand the social media landscape, why don’t you point at me, rather than some chucklehead who once got so wasted he lost his car for a week?

Shut up.


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