Sunday, May 03, 2009

High Flying Twitterers

I was going to "unveil" this tomorrow but let's give this experiment a practice run today. Trying to find new ways to use numbers, I thought I might find out which accounts were growing the fastest by follower numbers. You could call this Twitter Momentum or Twitter Velocity.

Here is highest growth rate among the most popular Twitter users:

Fastest growing Twitter accounts (4/19/09-4/26/09):
  1. Gayle King (@KingGayle) 501%
  2. Steve Agree (@SteveAgee) 490% SU
  3. Lakers (@Lakers) 457% SU
  4. Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) 339% SU
  5. Joe Trippi (@JoeTrippi) 332% SU
  6. Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) 280% SU
  7. Kimberly Cole (@KimberlyCole1) 219% SU
  8. Joy Behar (@JoyVBehar) 218%
  9. Larry King (@KingsThings) 174% SU
  10. Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) 162%
  11. Jerry Brown (@JerryBrown2010) 150% SU
  12. Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) 142% SU
  13. Ashley Tisdale (@AshleyTisdale) 139% SU
  14. Joe Sebok (@JoeSebok) 124% SU
  15. Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) 124% SU
  16. Dick Costolo (@DickC) 108% SU
  17. People Magazine (@PeopleMag) 101% SU
  18. Matisyahu (@Matisyahu) 91% SU
  19. EW Pop Watch (@EWPopWatch) 90% SU
  20. John Legend (@JohnLegend) 82% SU
SU=Twitter's Suggested Users

To find a manageable amount of accounts with accurate figures, I limited myself to the Top 500 Twitterers in terms of follower numbers (over 30K followers) and used a combination of Twitter, TwitterCounter, TwitterHolic & WeFollow to both locate these names and trace follower numbers. I'm actually collecting records on the Top 1000 Twitterers (over 19K Followers) to have background data for the user group I'm focusing on.

Ideally, there would be one searchable database that contained distinct accounts for each follower over time but that only exists at Twitter HQ and, as I was told when I asked, @Twitter doesn't see any benefit to the user to share this information with researchers.

As you can see, because of the user group I was drawing from, this list mainly includes celebrities with a few exceptions. I'm going to wait until I post last week's list tomorrow to draw some initial conclusions except I'll say it's a shame other NBA teams didn't follow the @Lakers lead and galvanize their fans using Twitter...that account just exploded in terms of growth with the playoff series.

And for those who say I must have too much time on my hands and I'm not a statistics person, you're both right. But since I am currently unemployed, why not use part of my free time to experiment with the limited metrics that are available to see what they can reveal about the way people grow & develop their social networks over time?