Does Ashton Kutcher kill Twitter's credibility?

Does Ashton Kutcher kill Twitter's credibility?

Summary: So Ashton Kutcher beat CNN to a million followers. Great.

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So Ashton Kutcher beat CNN to a million followers. Great. One more reason for Twitter to make it into the news lately. This is all well and good except I'm wasting my breath talking about how useful Twitter could be in a classroom and all people are thinking about is how they might be getting Punk'd.

Obviously, I'm not saying that Ashton Kutcher shouldn't be on Twitter or that it should be an exclusively serious, LinkedIn-style social media tool. Twitter is what it is, and I'm going to keep using it for a variety of reasons. Twitter helps me share a personal side of my online identity (whether that's Chris Dawson as School District Technology Director, Chris as Dad, Chris as husband, Chris as cat-hater, Chris as blogger, or whatever), broadcast new blog posts, solicit ideas, communicate with friends/family, or just easily update my Facebook status.

However, as Twitter comes of age, the prospect of ads looms, and Ashton Kutcher becomes Twitter's biggest (but hardly the only) source of noise and distraction, it's time to turn elsewhere. It's time that Twitter's technology and the microblogging it has popularized begin to specialize. Just as Ning lets us create our own social networks appropriate for education (or whatever purposes can't/shouldn't be served by MySpace and Facebook), so must we find/invent/create microblogging tools that don't have anything to do with Ashton.

This explains my complete excitement yesterday (and resulting 2 blog posts) over Edmodo. I'm also exploring identi.ca, which seems to be a bit less noisy and more technically-oriented. A few Ning-like microblogging sites have popped up, as well, but they don't appear to be free/ad-free in the long term.

I'm just happy to see some differentiation in the market. I don't think I'll be talking much more about Twitter in Ed Tech. My focus in this area, largely thanks to Ashton, will be shifting to microblogging and other social tools in education. I'm still a big Twitter fan, but in Ed Tech, I'm a big fan of the technology, not @aplusk.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, CXO

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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19 comments
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  • Credibility! Is this a joke?

    Twitter's Credibility, I did not know it had any to lose. Tweeter is just another site for ego maniacs looking for attention like myspace/facebook etc. Every platform can be use for some "legitimate" non pretentious purpose but that's usually in the minority.
    Popularity does not automatically bring credibility.
    LordFlashHeart
    • My thoughts exactly...

      I mean, it could be used for meaningful collaboration between peers...say someone has a question about programming syntax/function call. He/she could send out a Twitter to hopefully get an answer, quickly. But does that happen with a, what, 140 char limit?

      I think a better option would be something like a...oh...I dunno...a piece of mail you send electronically...let's call it email for short...to all your peers who might have the answer.

      There's a reason the root word of Twitter is Twit.
      ccrashh2@...
  • the hype was certainly a two-edged sword

    you are spot on with you commentary and i commen you for pointing out how we should be less distracted by the hype and more focused on how to bring the technology to the next level
    autom
  • Twitter never had any credibility.

    Never will, just one more useless "social site" that will eventualy die out like the pet rock fad.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Mayber Ur Just Using Twitter Wrong?

    When Twitter first came out, my thought was that it was just a waste of time. I wasn't interested in 140 character microblasts, but after seeing how other people were using it, I jumped in. For me, it's never been as much of a promotional tool to distribute blog posts and what not, but as an instant conversation that I can jump in and out of. I like the caos of it all. For you, there's huge benefits in using it to help centralized your reporting that's been fragmented across the net or for developing educational purposes that don't exist today. For Ashton, it's a way for him to connect with his fans.

    None of us are using the service wrong, we're just using it to fill different needs in our own lives. That's the beauty of Twitter, it's remarkable at adapting to the user.

    Now I'm normally the first one to jump on the bash the celebrities bandwagon, but the beauty of this social revolution that we are witnessing is that you can hear directly from the source and Kutcher makes a lot of good points in his thoughts on the race.

    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1394392

    This wasn't about an ego driven celebrity, it was about one person being able to be heard just as loud as a major news network. You may not appreciate that as much because you work for CBS, but for those of us who don't have access to millions of people, it's a very powerful concept.

    It's fair if you disagree with something that Kutcher has to say, but to somehow paint this media event as a bad thing because of who he is doesn't seem fair IMO.
    Davis Freeberg
  • RE: Does Ashton Kutcher kill Twitter's credibility?

    Twitter never had any credibility.

    [i]I?m wasting my breath[/i]

    We are well aware of that.
    Loverock Davidson
    • uh

      You just tweeted. shhhhhhh
      joeofthejungle
  • Twitter, mySpace, FaceBook (NOT-it's a MS property) - waste of time (NT)

    NT
    No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • Services are services, wrong question

    Now would I "follow" what an Ashton Kutcher says?

    Nope. I am not interested but if he wants to say whatever is on his mind why would anyone care one way or the other?

    Does the fact CNN has a Twitter page bother me?

    Nope, and why should it?

    There are many forms of communication services. All can be useful, all can be a waste of time too. It all depends on you.
    ThePrairiePrankster
    • I don't do twitter.

      On occasion I still do news groups. If I want CNN I go to CNN.

      Guess I'm getting old.
      deowll
    • Further dumbing down of "news"{ and

      of course the dumbing down of the "news" watching Americans.
      bernalillo
  • No matter how much you polish a turd...

    It's still just a turd. Social sites will never be more than what their users make of them. Generally that is just the mosdern equivalent of teens hanging around the mall. Quit trying to make it into something it's not and never will be.
    bernalillo
  • They allow Dawson teach CHildren?

    I read this article once, scanned it twice, what did Kutcher do? Isn't it Writing 101 to address the title of a piece? I have to guess.

    What did Kutcher do? Punk CNN with Twitter? Using Twitter to Punk? A million before CNN ... WTF?



    rmhesche
  • RE: Does Ashton Kutcher kill Twitter's credibility?

    ashton is enjoying himself... nothing wrong with that! (and a million people are enjoying him too)
    twitter is what it is
    ut0h
  • Social Media

    It is refreshing, finally, to see some some long overdue "slapback" to this rapidly accelerating obsession with the whole social media business.
    Here, and in the responses to Chris' previous blog on the study about Facebook and students' academic performances, there are those finally willing to stand up and say (as in H. C. Andersen's Fairy Tale) "The emperor has no clothes", apropos what a wondrous invention social media sites are.
    Chris strikes me as being a bright and reasonable (and obviously thick-skinned) guy, but I think he (and many others) really need to step back and evaluate what this explosion of social media web sites means and what they really bring to society and specifically education.
    I believe it was Benjamin Franklin (sorry, I don't recall the specific attribution) that recommended, when dealing with the adoption of social trends and new ideas, etc., that one should be "neither the first nor the last".
    First there was Myspace, which I guess was the 'in thing' for what, a year or two. Then Facebook became the new must-join site, then came Twitter (where you just had to become a "Twit") and now apparently there are one or more variations of Twitter that are "better".
    It is my understanding that in American (and Canadian) education a disturbing trend among students is short attention spans and decreasing ability to focus. So Twitter comes along and has a character limit of 140, which, depending on whether ones uses real English or that abominable text message-speak, limits your thoughts to a few (probably silly, inane) sentences. But, at least this month, Tweeting is what anyone who is in the know must use,
    I have a Facebook account, more to verify my own prejudices about this and comparable sites than for its intended purpose. The first objective there seems to be to accumulate as many friends as possible. Then everybody can write either banal, trivial, irrelevant details about their lives, or, respond to their friends' posting of such dribble. The only question I haven't figured out is whether a person must be vapid before becoming an truly active participant in Facebook and similar sites, or does frequent use of these social media sites simply lead to vacuity.
    This whole trend is mirrored as well by another recent blog by Chris about his perspective about the new world of writing a resume, turning yourself into a markable "product". If I were applying for a position knowing that my potential employer were planning to judge me based on my personal web site (which I don't have) or my Facebook account (which is pretty sparse) or any other similar sites, then I would be looking elsewhere because that company is run by fools and the company is destined to go belly-up quickly or would be a bizarre place to work.
    I think the main failure here, with regards to education, particularly in this last example, is that encouraging young people (in any way) to become proficient (if that is an appropriate term for it) in social media sites, and a few other quite narrow computer skills, is producing a generation of technological, and probably social, savants. That is, young people with a very limited, narrow set of specialized skills but who are effectively disabled in too many important abilities.
    I work at a university as a scientist, not in K12, and I interact primarily with graduate students, post-graduate (post-doctoral) and similar people. They are extremely bright and have grown up with computers (whereas my family didn't have a TV until I was about 10). The conventional "wisdom" is that young people who grow up with computers are inherently better with that technology than more senior (yeah, old f*rts) such as myself. What frequently surprises me is just how narrow and unimaginative most younger people are in effectively exploring all of the many, varied applications that computers have and the resources the Internet offers.
    David Spencer-20660146163390554490918120654216
  • RE: Does Ashton Kutcher kill Twitter's credibility?

    Tech in and of itself has no credibility. A car can be used by idiots to drag race or by adults to get back and forth to work.
    Social networking sites can be used by adults to maintain relationships over long distances or to broadcast information to people who have decided to group together based upon some common interest. Or they can be used by idiots for some other inane pupose.
    BTW - Ashton Kutcher has killed Twitter's cred with me, but probably helped it with the Britnay/Linsay/Paris followers.
    SkyNet42
  • Don't Throw Stones From Glass House

    One of the things that I find really interesting about this post is that despite several intelligent comments on this post, the author has yet to reply to a single one. Seems to me that he's blasting Kutcher for not being involved in the conversation and using Twitter for self promotion, but when it comes to his own articles, the author isn't willing to actually communicate with his own readers.

    At least Ashton replies and retweets a lot of his followers responses to him. He may not respond to every one, but his behavior has shown the he's engaged and interacting which is what makes Twitter so excited. It may seem easy to take a swipe at others, but it seems pretty hypocritical to attack other people for not being responsive and then act like you are better then your readers by not responding to positive or negative comments. I'd almost expect this type of behavior from the celebrities that you're criticizing, but as self proclaimed web 2.0 expert, it seems like the author would be more involved in communicating with his readers instead of dictating the news to them.
    Davis Freeberg
  • CNN was considered Legit? Who Knew?

    CNN is a Soros owned left wing propaganda house, NO ONE thinks CNN is legit...not even Ashton! LOL!
    metronil
  • Root of the problem

    Maybe the problem is not Ashton Kutcher. Or Twitter. Maybe it's the world in which Ashton Kutcher types of profiles will always rise above CNN. Or Unicef. Or Tim Berners-Lee. Or... fill in the blanks.
    Appgramming