The Race to a Million Twitter Followers

    April 16, 2009
    WebProNews Staff

Who knew the race to be the first Twitter user with a million followers was so important? It’s not, but it is kind of fun to watch. Ashton Kutcher, CNN, and Britney Spears seem the most likely contenders, but one shadow organization lurks to manipulate while Oprah’s late entry could be an upset.
Ashton Kutcher Facebook
Kutcher’s been on his million-Twitterer march for a while now, and has managed already to soundly surpass a million fans on Facebook. He made the announcement via Twitter this afternoon. His Twitter account currently boasts about 960,000 followers. I’m no good at math, but it appears Ashton is outpacing Don Dodge’s prediction he’d reach the million follower goal by April 21.
Britney Spears Twitter
But Britney Spears has quietly (really? Quietly?) amassed over 937,000 followers, placing her as an unsung contender. Britney’s Twitter account, though, seems pure PR, with her team ghost tweeting for her most of the time.

CNN is also an unlikely contender after acquiring procuring control of CNNbrk, an account set up by a fan to tweet news breaking on CNN. Likely that account was attractive because of the 970,000 followers the account’s owner, James Cox, had amassed. But as our own Chris Crum has reported, that appears to be an illegal move, though Twitter has yet to take any action against it.
Meanwhile, over night “basementdad,” a spoof Twitter account set up in the name of Joseph Frieschel, has grabbed 200,000 followers as a result of a protest campaign set up by the anonymous frequenters of 4chan, a notorious image forum most famous for hacking, staging Scientology headaches, and a highly offensive sense of humor based on shock value. That last characteristic is fairly evident in the person they’ve chosen to spoof on Twitter. Frieschel’s claim to fame is being arrested for holding his daughter prisoner in a basement and sexually abusing her for a quarter of a century.

Stuck at 200,000 or so followers, the basement dad group is promoting a special script to help create accounts and artificially inflate the follower count. (No links. Just a run a search on "basementdad " and you’ll find it.)

You’ll notice Oprah Winfrey’s account is devoid of any tweets at this point. Regardless, she already has 29,000 followers. Likely the account was very recently set up (she didn’t, after all, even know about YouTube until last summer or something). Robert Scoble says she’ll be talking about Twitter on her show tomorrow, and everybody knows that when Oprah tells her audience they should do something, they know they’d better stinkin’ do it!

Oprah Twitter

My money’s on Oprah, from behind, approximately one hour after her show airs tomorrow. All hail the power of Oprah.