In April 2009, Jake Coyle reported at HuffPost that actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN were in a dead heat to see who could be the first to break a million followers on Twitter.
According to www.twitterholic.com, Ashton Kutcher's following on Twitter has since reached 3,471,076. It will probably surpass 3.5 as you read this. That's more than President Obama, Al Gore, or Oprah.
Kutcher, an avid fan of social media and co-founder of Katalyst Media, has been suggesting to people he admires that they harness the power, but the concept tends to fare about as well as talking abstract expressionism or the public health option.
Not so with Newark's Mayor Cory A. Booker, who took Kutcher's advice to talk with his constituents on Twitter. The Mayor began tweeting dozens of times a day about where he was going, what he was doing, sharing favorite quotes and spontaneous thoughts on the issues, and his online following rapidly rose to 650,000.
This week, in a Web chat, Kutcher spoke with Mayor Booker about community service, positive change, and an upcoming Sundance Channel premiere of "Brick City," a five-part documentary about Newark premiering September 21st.
Halfway through, Kutcher challenged the Mayor to inspire 300 Twitter followers to send video "declarations" of community service to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If 300 video commitments come in, Kutcher has volunteered to wear a Giants jersey and hat, despite the fact that he is a devoted Bears fan, and go to a Giants game with the Mayor.
"Go to serv.gov.,"Kutcher says in the interview. "Pick the thing you like to do. Send in the video. And we'll post it."
"Can we put a challenge out there?" asked the Mayor. "We could do a little one on one. If we get ... what number do you want ... if we get 300 videos sent in?"
"We go one on one and the loser has to, what, fill in the blanks, Mayor?" Kutcher asks.
"I take you to a Giants game. I want you wearing the jersey, the hat, the football pants..."
They settled on just the cap and jersey. 300 declarations of service to email@example.com, then the one on one game, and the loser has to wear the cap and jersey to the winner's favorite team's football game.
A Kutcher/Booker Challenge. The results should be interesting. And you can bet you'll be hearing all about it on Twitter.
Follow Vickie Karp on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ibrakeforpixels