When It Comes Down To It, Is Twitter Really Just a Popularity Contest For Celebrities 5

While Ashton Kutcher passing 1 million followers and Oprah joining Twitter is old news, it’s worth exploring how these two “events” have transformed Twitter from a social networking tool to… a popularity ranking system for celebrities.

First, let’s look at Kutcher v. CNN. While this contest showed that a lot of people are using Twitter, how many of Kutcher’s 1.5 million followers are getting something valuable from his tweets? While he currently has well over 1 million followers, Kutcher is following a grand total of 145 people, most of whom are celebrities.

Now, let’s look at Oprah’s grand entrance. After joining Twitter just a couple weeks ago Oprah has close to 1 million followers. However, she’s following just 11 people, all of whom either work for her show, or are celebrities.

Even though these celebrities have so many followers and receive a lot of messages every day, most of them go ignored. In fact, Twitter has become a one-way street of communication for celebrities trying to reach their audience. Instead of being on the cover of People or appearing on The Tonight Show, they can now just send out a tweet.

Even Peter Shankman, who recently held a day-long giveaway contest via Twitter (which surely attracted some additional followers) agreed that the celebrity intrusion has gone way over the edge, as he acknowledged the value of having ‘real’ followers.

Maybe Twitter should be set up more like this:

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