I can’t say I’ve ever been a particular fan of Ashton Kutcher. But his erroneous, ill-informed tweet and subsequent throwing of toys out of his Twitter-branded pram has me thinking he’s an absolute idiot.
In a nutshell: Kutcher claims to have heard about the firing of Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno in passing without hearing the full facts. He tweeted in defense of Paterno, talking up his career, after assuming the 84-year-old had been dismissed for being too old and no longer getting results. He then heard the full story, deleted his tweet, and apologized for the simple error of judgment.
That should have been the end of it, but Kutcher decided this one thing was enough to force him to give up Twitter altogether. And he explained his decision in a rambling blog post full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. He’s too busy making crap TV shows to worry about trivial matters such as these, I guess.
As a Brit, the Paterno story had not entered my field of vision until, strangely enough, Kutcher had his say. Now I actually know the back story and why people were so incensed at Kutcher’s supposed lack of empathy for the alleged victims of the crimes surrounding Paterno’s dismissal. I’m still not particularly interested because football is, as we all know, a stupid sport. But still.
I have already ranted about the way celebrities are increasingly using Twitter purely for self-promotion, leaving behind the connection and personal involvement with fans that the platform once represented. And this amplifies that issue even more so. Because of the fallout of one mistake, Kutcher has decided to dismiss the whole idea of Twitter and hand over tweeting duties to a team of publicists. Way to connect to the fans.
Twitter Is Bad, Mmkay
It’s as though Kutcher has flipped a switch. Last week he was a Twitter advocate and investor who would talk up the power of the platform at every available opportunity. Now, he doesn’t want anything to do with Twitter and thinks it has somehow been ruined by becoming mainstream. Or perhaps because there are too many ordinary folk reading his boring updates.
His assertion that “clearly the platform has become too big to be managed by a single individual” is ludicrous. He’s acting as though tweeting is some kind of job when actually it’s just writing short, snappy updates from your phone. The fact that all Kutcher’s tweets will now be channeled through an editing process to make sure he doesn’t make another faux pas shows just how disconnected to his fans and out-of-touch the man has become.
Kutcher has now added another reason to the increasingly long list of reasons to dislike him. And Twitter has lost someone who, up to now, has been one of its biggest cheerleaders. I suspect the number of people following Kutcher will start to drop off sharply very soon, and all because of a tweet that most people wouldn’t have heard about or taken any notice of had he just apologized and moved on. Another example of the Streisand Effect in action.