New W.H. Messenger? Ashton Kutcher

Celebrity blogger asked to promote National HIV Testing Day

By Patrick Gavin
|  Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009  |  Updated 10:07 PM CDT
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Twitterheads: Celebrities Who Tweet

AP

Ashton Kutcher has over 2.5 million followers on Twitter.

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If you're a regular reader of Ashton Kutcher's Twitter feed (and you very well may be, as the actor and prankster has over 2.5 million followers), you may have done a double take when he tweeted on Sunday that the White House had asked him to help get the word out about National HIV Testing Day.

"I've been asked by the white house to twet this" wrote Kutcher, who provided a link to a White House blog post and accompanying video noting the 14th commemoration of National HIV Testing Day.

But did the White House really reach out to Kutcher and ask him to promote their initiative? Or was Kutcher just trying to "punk" us and make us think he's oh-so-cool because he's in touch with the White House?

Turns out: Kutcher wasn't lying. The White House confirmed that it did, in fact, seek Kutcher's help in promoting the blog post.

"As technology impacts how and where people are communicating online, we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with the public," said White House assistant press secretary Reid Cherlin. "Our efforts to promote National HIV Testing Day included participation from popular users of Twitter, as well as broad social media engagement by agencies across the government.”

Kutcher was one part of the strategy: The White House has also provided online and text message resources to help people find a local testing site, launched a Twitter hashtag on the subject (#NHTD09) and set up e-cards that individuals can use to encourage others to get tested for HIV/AIDS.

And this isn't the first time the Obama administration has gotten involved with Twitter. Earlier this month, the State Department asked Twitter to postpone a scheduled shutdown in order to aid anti-government protesters in Iran.

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