When it first came to my attention last week, the race to a million Twitter followers seemed a bit ridiculous. After all, a good chunk of those followers are probably either spammers or bots. But then Ashton Kutcher decided to throw down the gauntlet and formally challenge CNN to a race to the landmark number. Then Larry King got involved. Then EA got involved. Then it was revealed that CNN didn’t even own the Twitter name Kutcher was racing. Then it bought the name. Is your mind numb yet?
Now, apparently, Ted Turner is ready to throw in the towel, and give the race over to Kutcher, if he comes through on his promise to donate 10,000 bed nets to fight malaria in Africa. Appearing on a radio show, Laura Turner Seydel, Turner’s daughter, said that she believed her dad would back Ashton in his quest for a million followers if Ashton comes through on his promise. And she will ask her dad to do so. During the interview (embedded below), Seydel says she has been following the “race” and has been “having a big laugh about it.”
It’s still not entirely clear what Ted Turner has to do with any of this. While he did start CNN, as Larry King noted, he no longer runs it. But Kutcher wanted to punk him, so now he’s apparently involved whether he wants to be or not. Meanwhile, it’s probably a good idea for him to concede “defeat” as Kutcher is gaining quickly on the CNN Twitter account. Kutcher is now past 920,000 followers and is less than 30,000 away from CNN — and gaining fast. The chart below, made by ChartBeat, shows the trend towards Kutcher throughout the day. The service has a live updating version of it on its site.
Yes, this whole thing is silly, but at least it’s now for a good cause. Nothing But Nets protects people in Africa from outbreaks of malaria. If Kutcher is willing to use this race to support that fight, we’ll support him with as many posts as it takes.
Update: CNN is now saying that it will match Kutcher’s 10,000 net pledge if it wins the race. If it loses, it will still donate 1,000 nets.