Ashton Kutcher leaves Oprah atwitter

A week of Twitter mania culminated on Friday with actor Ashton Kutcher winning a popularity contest against cable news giant CNN on the Web platform and Oprah Winfrey sending her first "tweet."





Even though Twitter mystifies many people, its celebrity appeal has generated interest. This week, "What Happens in Vegas" star Kutcher added to the buzz by challenging CNN to be the first Twitter user with 1 million followers.



Kutcher crossed that mark on Friday, beating CNN's breaking news Twitter feed by a beak, as the cable channel attracted its millionth follower 30 minutes later.



On Friday, Twitterati everywhere held their breath as the influential Winfrey sent her first message using the system. "Feeling really 21st century," she wrote.



Twitter is an Internet-based tool that allows individuals or organizations to send short messages to computer screens and mobile devices, alerting followers about anything from breaking news to the sender's sometimes mundane activities.



"It definitely has its detractors," said Karen North, director of the University of Southern California's Annenberg program on online communities.



"The detractors are the people who think it's just ridiculous that people are saying things like, 'I just ate a taco,'" North said.



The San Francisco-based company behind Twitter was founded in 2006 but it has taken off in the United States in a huge way in recent months with everyone from politicians to Hollywood celebrities letting their fingers do the talking.



President Barack Obama used Twitter during his campaign last year, and prominent celebrities on Twitter include basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and singer Britney Spears.



As a private company, Twitter does not disclose its number of users. But Forrester Research senior analyst Jeremiah Owyang said Twitter has an estimated 5 million registered users and is the Web's fastest-growing social network.



The more established social networking site Facebook has more than 200 million users, he said.



A Twitter message can be no more than 140 characters, but it can link to another Web site. Kutcher's Twitter page on Friday had a link to charity organisation Malaria No More.



Kutcher, 31, who is married to actress Demi Moore, vowed to buy 10,000 mosquito nets to fight malaria in developing countries if he beat CNN, and the cable channel has promised to give the same number of nets. Winfrey on Friday posted a Twitter message promising 20,000 nets.



On her talk show on Friday, Winfrey sat with Twitter CEO Evan Williams as she learned how Twitter works. Within eight hours of sending her first tweet, Winfrey already had more than 166,000 followers on Twitter.



The Kutcher vs. CNN race and Winfrey's first tweet were a milestone for Twitter, Owyang said. "There's going to be a lot of new people trying it out today," he said.



While Twitter as a company is not yet turning a profit on the platform, users are capitalizing on it.



"Whether you're an Oprah fan or not, the fact is Oprah can teach a lot of people about a number of important topics, and she now has a new medium with which to do that," North said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
John Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Senior IOS Developer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

    SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12Months

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12 Months | 500/...

    Business Systems Analyst - London - £40,000 plus benefits

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Business Syst...

    Business Continuity Manager

    £300 - £301 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: The successful can...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil