Twitter saw enormous growth earlier this year and with the huge increase in users came a dramatic shift in its internal ecosystem especially with the rise of several “influential” users that now have more followers than Twitter's entire audience not so long ago. A new study by the Web Ecology called “The Influentials” aimed to find how much authority 12 popular Twitter users have by looking at how many retweets, replies and mentions their tweets generate.
“Using a new methodology based on the content and responses of 12 popular users, we determined measurements of relative influence on Twitter. We examined an ecosystem of 134,654 tweets, 15,866,629 followers, and 899,773 followers, and in response to the 2,143 tweets generated by these 12 users over a 10-day period, we collected 90,130 responses published by other users,“ the study said, detailing the methods used to determine influence on Twitter.
With the sheer amount of data there are many trends that could be uncovered but the study pointed out several interesting observations some of which aren't so unexpected but some could only be found on Twitter. For example, the Twitter account of the social media blog Mashable is more influential than that of CNN's while also having more than six times more followers. At the same time, it looks like cats are more popular than faded rappers, as Sockington
was found to be more influential than MC Hammer while the latter is also more influential than several high-profile social media figures like Robert Scoble.
The study also discovered that celebrities don't provide too much retweetable material but are far more likely to get people talking while the opposite is true for news outlets which are much more probable to see their messages retweeted. The study
goes into a much deeper analysis of the type of influence these popular users have while also providing some general insights on the phenomenon.