By Adam Parker
A few weeks ago Stephen tweeted this as part of a planning workshop with students at the University of Newcastle.
— Stephen Waddington (@wadds) March 13, 2015
I thought it would be interesting to see if Lissted, our influencer application, agreed.
Lissted ranks users based on the relevance of their Twitter relationships and interactions.
Most tools focus on who produces content and conversations on a topic. This places too much emphasis on who’s noisy, and noise doesn’t equal influence. It’s a lot harder to get a relevant and influential Twitter user to follow you, than it is to generate tweets on a topic.
Relationships on Twitter are also proxies for someone’s potential influence in the real world. It’s why famous people have so many followers even when they don’t say a lot.
So back to Stephen’s tweet. We put Lissted to work analysing the relationships of over 20,000 North East accounts that appear in our 2 million strong database of potential influencers.
Characterising the Twitter community in the North East of England
From this we produced a list of 250 accounts that rank highly in the North East community. Please check the data out for yourself.
The results have been grouped into ten types of account:
Accounts shown in blue are what we call selective. These are accounts whose follower to following ratio suggests they are more choosy about who they follow. Also, the fact that they’ve generated relevant followers without the need to follow people back demonstrates a degree of “celebrity” within the community.
So what insights can we draw from the results?
First off, it provides empirical evidence for the assessment in Stephen’s tweet. All three accounts mentioned – @altweet_pet, @NCLairport and @thecluny – are in the Top 30, and within the Organisation group they rank 3rd, 10th and 13th.
They are also all ‘selective’ accounts.
Even on social media, old media still has a significant voice
The top five accounts, and eight of the top ten, are either Media or Twitter Networking related.
Three quarters of the media accounts are also selective (27/36), demonstrating both the interest that people have in them, and often their broadcast nature on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the three Twitter networking accounts in the top ten show the appetite for curation that exists within relevant communities.
North East brands and organisations embrace Twitter
Of the 142 organisations represented in the Top 250, half (72) of them are selective.
It takes a lot for individuals to make an impact
Including Smallbiz accounts there are 65 people in the 250, just over one in four. Of these, only 17 are selective accounts. Six of these selective accounts relate to the North East related celebrities on the list – Ant and Dec, Sarah Millican, Lauren Laverne, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Duncan Bannatyne, and Bob Mortimer – and six more relate to journalists.
The remaining five selective people are:
- Simon Hanson, Development Manager, Federation of Small Businesses North East
- Ross Smith, Director of Policy, North East Chamber of Commerce
- Chi Onwurah, Labour candidate (and MP previously) for Newcastle Central
- Emma Phillips, Food blogger
- Mark Allison, Run Geordie Run, charity runner
The highest ranked selective person is Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo at 66th and there are 39 selective accounts belonging to media and organisations above him.
Conclusion? If you want to rank highly in the North East Twitter community as an individual you may have to run round the world.
No footballers or Geordie Shore cast members
Whilst it’s fun to see who ranks where in such a list, a tweak of the algorithm, or a change in the sample of accounts we used to build the list, and the exact order would change.
I personally think it’s much more useful to look collectively and say, have we got a lot of the accounts we might expect, and are we missing any that surprise us?
On the first question, I think the answer is yes. The assessment that resulted in Stephen’s tweet is some evidence of this, though there are bound to be ones missing that have a strong claim to be included.
On the question of omissions, the obvious ones for me are footballers and Geordie Shore cast members.
North East footballers such as Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor are close to being on the list with scores of 80 and 79. These scores may seem surprising given their substantial follower numbers. However they don’t rank as highly because the vast majority of their North East followers have little or no Twitter presence of their own. They are fans who mostly use Twitter to consume content.
True, this means they both have a significant potential reach with Newcastle United fans, many of whom may only follow NUFC related accounts. Outside this group, it suggests their influence is more limited.
A similar situation applies to Charlotte Crosby of Geordie Shore fame, who’s also only a little off the pace with 79. Though in Charlotte’s case a much higher proportion of her fans are from outside the region.
We can illustrate this narrow reach with the following table showing how many of Lissted’s Top 250 North East accounts follow certain accounts. This analysis is here to illustrate the ranking process. Lissted’s methodology takes account of more factors than just a simple count of relevant followers.:
With less than 10 per cent of the Top 250 following Jonas Gutierrez and Charlotte Crosby their potential to have wider influence on the North East community appears to be more limited.
Finally The Chronicle, the daily local paper, is rated top of the list. It’s followed by 166 of the Top 250 accounts and follows 99 of them back.
It also follows 21 accounts who don’t follow it back. Surely this is a missed opportunity for engagement (the ability to DM for instance) for at least some of the following?
@NUFC (perhaps not given recent relations between the two)
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