“Real Men” of Social Media

An established model, actor, producer and venture capitalist, Ashton Kutcher has become a powerful businessman with an aggressive attitude. He is far from dumb. Like all successful, well-rounded individuals, Kutcher practices social responsibility. Partnered with his wife, Demi Moore, Kutcher has tapped into his vessel of connections to help create awareness on the issue of human trafficking.  He has hired fellow entertainers such as Drake, Justin Timberlake and Sean Penn to participate in the viral campaign, “Real Men Don’t Buy Women.” The normally goofy actor has audiences raising more than just their eyebrows with his campaign. Concerns and doubt have risen among various groups, especially New York news source, The Village Voice, in regards to the factuality of Kutcher’s statistics.

The problem doesn’t lie with the cause, it lies in the presentation. The Voice claims Kutcher is presenting inflated figures. Kutcher, a well-connected personality (and brand) in social media, has rooted his “Real Men” campaign into the foundation of social media. The star uses Facebook, Quora and Twitter to promote the cause and YouTube to host the videos. According to the study of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Blogosphere, social media isn’t a bad venue for him to take. The study reveals that while some online forums are smaller in size, the participation level is much higher as compared to other forms of mass media in regards to CSR. It is the idea of quality over quantity and frankly, it’s an example of the long tail. Kutcher has called on his niche market of fans and followers to help promote awareness of his cause.

The star, according to Biography.com, was the first Twitter member to reach one million followers. Who can blame him for using Twitter to fight back? Kutcher has bluntly tweeted to the Voice not only in defense of his case, but also in offense of their argument.  The so-called Twitter feud continues not only in the hands of both parties, but also in the hands of many followers. Kutcher has leveraged his large fan following to indirectly generate an army of support.

A positive result of this petty argument comes from the attention Kutcher is drawing to himself. Using blunt and informal language (and all CAPITAL letters), the actor is causing a stir not only to his pages, but also to his videos and to his cause. Looking at the glass half full, any publicity is good publicity. In my opinion, while the claim made by Village Voice is legitimate, they lose credibility by taking cheap shots at the actor’s casting stereotype, claiming the “Real Men” videos are reminiscent of something out of a frat house. Therefore, my problem doesn’t lie in the cause; it lies in their presentation. It simply looks like they are just picking a fight just to be picking a fight. Some sources say the there is an underlying political motivation in the Voice’s strategy, but to any outside eye, it just looks childish. They certainly do not gain any respect in my book by writing an article titled, “Real Men Get Their Facts Straight.”

Kutcher is no fool for continuing his rant. With a current Twitter following of over 7 million people, Kutcher has all the ears he needs. Whether he is bashing the Voice or directly supporting his campaign, he is creating all the awareness he needs. Job well done.