Alternate Reality

Study: Twitter Influencers Have Influence

Research by the Web Ecology Project reveals some obsessive Twitters are more influential than others, but they’re all more important than you are, you worthless heap of dung.

By (@tynanwrites)

September 3, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

The Web Ecology Project has just completed an exhaustive study of 12 “influential” Twitter users to gauge just how much influence they have. And when we say “exhaustive,” we aren’t kidding.

To generate their report, the authors of “The Influentials: New Approaches for Analyzing Influence on Twitter”

…. examined a total of 134,654 tweets, 15,866,629 followers, and 899,773 followees. In response to the 2,143 tweets generated by these 12 users of the 10 day period, we collected 90,130 responses (actions) published by other users (which equates to 87,987 more messages than total original tweets, or a total average of 42 responses per tweet).

From Ashton and Shaquille to Mashable and CNN, they pored over every tweet, perused each reply, and parsed all the retweets for 10 days. Then they laid down and took a well-deserved nap.

Their conclusions? Mashable is more influential than CNN. A washed-up rapper still totally kicks ass over nerdy social media gurus. News site tweets tend to contain more news, strangely enough, while celebrities tend to prattle on without saying anything worth repeating (but are still deeply influential anyway).

It’s all right there in that graphic below. What, you mean you don’t see any of that? Perhaps you need to download the ginormous (3MB) version, print it as a poster and hang it on your wall. (It looks really bitchin’ under a black light.)

web ecology influencers report

Not content to let a bunch of geeky academics do our thinking for us, we ran the data through our own eSarcAnalysis software. Our conclusions were, well, just a little different:

  • Geeks with glasses have more influence than males with mullets, but less influence than hotties with hooters.
  • Stare at that graphic long enough and we can convince you to do practically anything. We made Michael Arrington smear Nutter Butter on his ass and run naked through the monkey cage at the San Francisco Zoo. Do not mess with us.
  • @BarakObama plans to nationalize Twitter right after he finishes taking over the banking, automotive, health care, and pest management industries.
  • justine ezarik (left) and robert scoble (naked)

  • Justine Ezarik (@iJustine) is waaaay hotter than Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) but less likely to put out on the first date.
  • @MCHammer still seems to believe he has a career, even though we hear he spends most of his time hanging around playgrounds singing “U Can Touch This.” Hammer Time? More like 10 to 15 years Federal time.
  • Who the fuck is @Garyvee? Seriously. Did he pay somebody to put him in here?
  • We weren’t planning to include @THE_REAL_SHAQ in this study, but he threatened to kick the shit out of us unless we did.
  • “@Sockington” doesn’t actually exist; we just made him up to see if anyone would notice. And he’s still more influential than Scoble. Is that awesome or what?
  • You can get funding for practically any kind of research. All you have to do is fill out a form. Who knew it was that easy?
  • Ashton Kutcher (@Aplusk) is a tool. We didn’t need a study to figure that out. But hell, we’ll take the grant money anyway.

True, we may not be scientists, exactly. And data is always open to interpretation. But at least we know it’s Robert Scoble, not Richard.
twitter table 2

Suck on that, Web Ecologists.

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