The story behind how Charlie Sheen got one million Twitter followers in 24-hours

UPDATED 08:30, 3/3 Without too much difficulty Charlie Sheen has racked up more than 1.1 million followers in 24-hours, but while the actor might have been all over TV, the web and the tabloids he didn’t get to that 1.1 million follower count on his own. He had a little help from some well connected friends.c

Forbes has the story of how Sheen reached out for professional help to allow him to speak directly to the world and make a big splash on Twitter. The splash came via the way of Ad.ly the online advertising firm that specialises in working with celebrities in social media.

Sheen only follows 24 people and once you remove the celebrities, like Alyssa_Milano and SarahKSilverman, and the baseball players, Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees and Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants (who has a great avatar, btw), there is also Chris Ovitz who is director of business development at Ad.ly (as well as, according, to his profile being a huge dork).

Forbes called up Ad.ly and got the story from CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh:

“Yesterday morning a friend of Charlie Sheen’s reached out to Ad.ly’s celebrity team and said Charlie would like to get on Twitter. Charlie said he wants to communicate directly with his fans and bypass the media.

“During the call Charlie was focused and really excited about communicating directly with his fans.  He had seen other celebrities join Twitter and he realized it was the best way for him to tell his side of the story directly to his audience,” said Arnie.  “He’s been posting pictures, that’s really helped.  The first picture he’s posted has been viewed over a million times already. I think we are about 24 hours into the life of Charlie Sheen’s Twitter account and he has 900,000 followers. I’ve never seen growth from zero to 900K in 24 hours.”

It was Ad.ly that contacted Twitter and got Sheen’s verified account set-up. The Ad.ly team then spent a couple of hours on the phone with Sheen and his assistant explaining how Twitter works: the use of hashtags, bit.ly, Twitpic. This explains how Sheen hit the ground running with pictures and his use of hashtags. The Sheen #tigerblood hashtag is now trending worldwide.

As a bonus for the now unemployed Sheen the advice from Ad.ly came free. Apparently this is “how they work with the Hollywood community” and became the “go-to guys in Hollywood for social media”.

Clearly a great ad for Ad.ly and its power to deliver celebrity endorsements. And Ad.ly boss Gullov-Singh reckons that Sheen, who might be toxic and unpredictable to some, with his 1.1 million plus followers could have brands lining up to work with him.

Why is any of this interesting? Well in part because it shows that Sheen, while he might be shouting from the rooftops like a mad man, is clearly sitting down and thinking about this; has a game plan; and social media and its ability to give him a voice outside of the media is clearly important part of that. What he will do with it is anyone’s guess.

From Yesterday – Over the last few days you can not have failed to miss Charlie Sheen splashing across the tabloids, the talk shows, the web and now Twitter.

Sheen like many celebs before him has taken to Twitter and in doing so short circuited the carefully crafted world of the PR flack (which he clearly has no need for) to get his message out — less than a day later more 710,000 have signed up to follow the ‘Two and a half men’ star.

His Twitter début follows his latest round of interviews with Piers Morgan Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20 and The Howard Stern Show after CBS sacked him from his long running sitcom.

Sheen, who is the highest paid actor on US television, told host Billy Bush on Access Hollywood that he had done nothing wrong and he hoped producers would get back in touch.

“I’ve got to get questions answered. I think people are really starting to see that, what did I have to do with this whole thing other than living a lifestyle that everyone was supporting and rooting for because it sort of mirrored what was going on in the show,” he said.

By five o’clock GMT Sheen has almost 830,000 followers and by Thursday morning I’m guessing that follower count will be in the range of a million plus. Sheen is no doubt going to be a huge draw on Twitter. The rush of followers prompted Piers Morgan to tweet:

“Time to doff my cap to @charliesheen who is about to overtake my follower count in ONE day with THREE tweets. New King Of Twitter #amazing”.

What is going to be genuinely interesting to see is how he uses it. He says he wants his job back (but then he says he will also sue CBS and wants a pay rise…), which might seem unlikely after his rant at showrunner Chuck Lorre.

So far he has posted 16 tweets, has been endorsed (so to speak) by boxer @FloydMayweather:

“Everyone needs to follow @charliesheen right now” and says he is open to questions..? ” I’m here for my people..! Bring it!!”.

He is a web phenomenon. I tweeted yesterday “Can someone fly Charlie Sheen to Libya to interview Gaddafi?” Although when@manxmidge tweeted Sheen’s follower count at seven this morning, my first thought was:

“Shit this actor says — great idea for sitcom…oh wait RT @manxmidge: wow. @charliesheen – 5 tweets, 566,108 followers!”

Since then he has put on 100,000 followers. The Guardian had a similar Gaddafi thought yesterday too it created a quiz: “Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway?”

But for the best collection of Sheen gems check out the Los Angeles Times, which has posted some of the best online including these gems:

“I was bangin’ seven-gram rocks and finishing them because that’s how I roll, because I have one speed, one gear. [I survived] because I’m me. I’m different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying’s for fools, dying’s for amateurs.”

“I’m still alive, which is pretty cool.”