Ashton Kutcher has profited immensely from Twitter. His Twitter presence in large part, drove his rise as a celebrity venture capitalist. But now things have gotten tough, so he's quitting. It's a pathetic, cowardly move.
Last night, as idiots in Pennsylvania rioted in support of a man who protected a child rapist, Kutcher weighed into the fray with his take on things. "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste"
Of course, Joe Paterno is losing his job because he learned that one of his employees was fucking children and didn't tell the police. Ashton Kutcher is the guy who wants to end child sex slavery. Twitter, predictably, went bezerk at the hypocrisy, and just plain idiocy.
Suddenly, the celebrity darling of Twitter was feeling the heat. As outraged readers retweeted and quoted and passed his words around the Internet, and more and more people weighed in with invective at the hot tub worthy celebrity, he deleted the tweet. (You can still read it here.)
Then, he announced that he was stepping away from the keyboard, and bringing someone on to "manage" the account. He confirmed that today on his blog:
Up until today I have posted virtually everyone of my tweets on my own, but clearly the platform has become to big to be managed by a single individual.
It seems that today that twitter has grown into a mass publishing platform, where ones tweets quickly become news that is broadcated around the world and misinformation becomes volitile fotter for critics.
A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted. I feel responsible for delivering an informed opinion and not spreading gossip or rumors through my twitter feed. While I feel that running this feed myself gives me a closer relationship to my friends and fans I've come to realize that it has grown into more that a fun tool to communicate with people. While I will continue to express myself through @Aplusk I'm going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst Media to ensure the quality of it's content. My sincere apologies to anyone who I offended. It was a mistake that I don't think will not happen again.
Bullshit, Ashton. You weren't "spreading gossip or rumors" through your Twitter feed. There was no "misinformation." You were voicing an opinion that turned out to be unpopular. Now, you may have been ill-informed about why Paterno was out, but you weren't spreading misinformation. He really was gone. You just said something stupid and got shit all over in response. And so now you want to take your ball and go home? It's an easy and cowardly thing to do.
You're the goddamn poster boy for the age of nauseating personal branding. You parlayed your following and interaction on Twitter into financial success that your lousy acting could never have brought you. You used Twitter to build a small personal fortune. You got connected to players in the Valley who otherwise would never have taken a meeting with someone like you. And even back in Hollywood, your new role on that show Charlie Sheen was fired from is due in no small part to your 8.2 million Twitter followers who, to your great credit, you built up organically.
It is your ability to talk to 8 million people that has made you so valuable. But you have to be ready to take the reins on that. Every conversation isn't going to be positive. Sometimes, you're going to fuck up, and make those people angry. You ought to be responsible enough to deal with that.
Now it's time to pay back what you've taken from Twitter. You had a hard night. Deal with it. People have loved you on Twitter precisely because you are a genuine voice. When you hand your words over to a soulless image management consultant you are betraying your fans, the very people whose backs you rode into this technology wonderland on. And if you think people were mad when you said something indefensibly dumb, just wait until you see how mad they are when they find out you've walked away from them.
Look, I can't believe I'm saying this either, but, don't go Ashton. Stick around. Take responsibility for this thing and fix it.
Update: As Mark Panzarino points out Kutcher is a co-founder at Katalyst Media. So, you know, at least he's still pimping his own brand. Thanks Ashton.
[Original image via WENN]
You can keep up with Mat Honan, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.