A couple days ago, actor Ashton Kutcher stated his goal to beat CNN to be the first Twitter user with a million followers. He promised to punk CNN founder Ted Turner if the Internet made it happen. Yesterday, CNN anchor Larry King fired back at Kutcher saying that one man couldn’t take down a whole network.
Kutcher was still trailing CNN by tens of thousands of followers, so he upped the ante by offering his one millionth follower the popular game Guitar Hero. A pretty weak offering for a movie star. He later came back with an offer to buy 10,000 bed nets to help fight malaria in third world countries. Nice. And now, game maker Electronic Arts has now stepped into the fight with a big offer as well.
EA tweeted out earlier today that if Kutcher beats CNN to a million, it will put Kutcher’s 1 millionth follower in a future EA game. The Twitter community is bound to eat this up.
And if Kutcher has any shot, they need to. As of today, he’s still over 40,000 followers behind the cable network. And, while a lot of people aren’t mentioning it, he’s still actually behind Britney Spears, who just crossed the 900,000 follower mark. But Kutcher is growing faster. In just the past hour or so he’s added a couple thousand followers, and when word of this EA deal gets out, that should jump.
But will it be enough to jump the 40,000+ divide with CNN before it hits 1,000,000? Kutcher just better hope no real huge news breaks in the meantime. Of course, I just got off the phone with CNN — they’re working on a million Twitter follower story as well.
Update: What’s really interesting about all of this is that the @cnnbrk account that Kutcher is racing against, isn’t even maintained by CNN. Notice how there are no links to CNN stories and the account is following one person? That person is James Cox, a San Francisco man who apparently created the account, as he points out in the comments, clearly wanting his due. Well, here it is James.
Update 2: It has now been confirmed that Cox has now sold the CNN Twitter name to CNN for an undisclosed sum.
Update 3: EA has upped its ante once again. Now, it is offering Kutcher’s 1 millionth Twitter follower a copy of every game it make in 2009 on top of a role in its Sims 3 game.
Update 4: Twitter user NuMessiah has crunched the numbers and expects Kutcher to beat CNN to a million followers, and thinks that will happen in roughly 20 hours from now. He also points out that Kutcher has finally passed Britney Spears to move into second place on the follower list.