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What does a large Twitter following mean?

Northwestern University study finds that followers don't equate to influence

Technology trends and news by Katie Gatto
September 27, 2010 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1219

Remember when John Mayer dropped off of Twitter, leaving all 3.7 million of his fans behind, in favor of another platform? Turns out, that doesn't really matter one bit because researchers at Northwestern University found that celebrity tweets just don't matter that much.

As it turns out, the number of followers you have does not have a serious impact on how influential you are on Twitter, or in the real world. Basically, it turns out that having a huge following on Twitter is no guarantee of being influential at all. At least, outside of your area of specialization.

As the release explains it, "Sports star LeBron James, for example, may influence people when he tweets about basketball, but he does not have as much clout if he voices his ideas about the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice."

The research, which was preformed by Professor Alok Choudhary and Ramanathan Narayanan as part of Professor Narayanan's thesis, resulted in a site, Pulse of Tweeters.  The Pulse of Tweeters is a data mining site, available to the public, that analyzes millions of tweets to find out who is influential and who is not.

That determination is made with sentiment analysis, unspecified network analysis algorithms and good old fashioned data mining to make the determinations. In addition, the site lists hot topics in Twitter, which is good news if you are looking to keep your user audience engaged. The network analysis algorithms are designed, not only to highlight what is hot, but to filter out spam tweeters.


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