Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

It’s not about the numbers !

UPDATE : A lot of responses to the list published by Iain Dale since I did this. Not least the one at Political Scrapbook which takes a different way of assessing the ‘top’ twitterers (I prefer ‘tweeters’ by the way) – which is to use Tweetlevel which is a service which works out a score based on followers, RT’s, replies – etc, etc.

Clearly a little more sensible than Iain Dale’s approach, but what @PSbook didn’t fully take into account was who was Labour and who wasn’t – and so rapidly updated the chart when Tweeters like myself sent their scores in.

According to the list I’m now 13th = (in actuality 23rd) – ahead of notable Labour tweeters, Like Will Straw, Sunder Katwala, Sally Bercow, Sion Simon – to name but a few.

Well – it’s flattering – but it’s not true ! – and I think underlines the pointlessness of Twitter “charts” – but thanks anyway !

I read on the celebrated tory Iain Dale’s Diary blog this morning, his list of the Top 20 Conservative and Labour tweeters, (with a link to the Lib Dems’ top 20 – mustn’t give them a place on the top table now must we ?)

Now Iain of all people surely knows his way around the internet / blogosphere / twittersphere – call it what you will – so why is he with bothering with such a silly list ?

To put tweeters in rank order, based on number of followers seems to totally miss the point of the interactivity of both Twitter and blogging.

The influence that a particular tweeter – or even an individual tweet – exerts on the masses is related to how many people follow them – but is not wholly dependent on it.  Neither do most “grass roots” Labour tweeters – and to be honest Tory, Lib Dem, & whoever else – really give a monkey’s about who has the most followers – the influence which Twitter wields is in the mass interaction – the Re-Tweets, the replies – the sense of community, and the propagation of ideas quickly among large numbers of people. It’s about bringing to attention the small individual blogs, on a par with the large institutional blogs on an equal footing – it’s just not about numbers. The total is so much greater than the sum of the parts.

Iain has for example clearly missed out one important parliamentary tweeter with over 40,000 followers – which would make them the third “top” political tweeter after Sarah Brown and Boris Johnson – but in my ever so humble (I only have 400 followers) opinion, not especially relevant in terms of influence (although I’m open to persuasion).

Iain in the same article also opines that Labour’s Twitter presence is more ‘party machine’ than ‘grass roots’ activists, in comparison with the Tories, by virtue of the fact that Twelve out of the Top 20 Labour tweeters are in the party machine, compared with 11 Tories.”

Yes.  Right. Well that’s the whole point – that’s how they are connecting with the grass roots.

Some people just don’t get Twitter !

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January 26, 2010 - Posted by | blogs, politics, twitter | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. [...] Northern Heckler gets it about right, and points out that the most phallic twitter feed in Westminster is in fact a [...]

    Pingback by Political Twankers and their Twitillations | The Wardman Wire | January 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Have to say I enjoyed reading your blog – and not just because I got a mention !

      Comment by northernheckler | January 27, 2010 | Reply


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