Monday, October 12, 2009

Some stats on Australian media's use of Twitter

With the Media140 conference coming up in Sydney next month, I thought it was time for a bit of local research on Twitter usage. I used Dave Earley’s comprehensive list of Australian journalists on twitter as a starting point for some research on local media usage. I spent a painstaking few hours getting the details of 313 people from Earley's list (plus a few others I though should be there). My list is not as exhaustive and I ran out of time to include the photographers, radio and some miscellaneous names.

But for the ones I did look at I simply captured the number of people they follow, the number of people that follow them and how many times they had tweeted (to Sunday 11 Oct 2009). I then sorted the results into various criteria.

Firstly, the data is sorted by how many people they follow. The higher numbers here are the people who are interested in everybody.

Frombecca leads the way following 24857 people on Twitter. After her comes Sarahprout who follows 22296 people. There is considerable distance to third place:

3. cameronreilly 10015
4. mumbrella 5749
5. mediahunter 4736
6. katekendall 4433
7. ccoaster2002 4351
8. earleyedition 3323
9. Joe_Hildebrand 3111
10. debsm 3105
11. landeryou 3060
12. firstdogonmoon 2865
13. tabloid terror 2678
14. JohnBirmingham 2576
15. grahamy 2556
16. renailemay 2429
17. PaulWiggins 2000
18. barrysaunders 1977
19. Warlach 1925
20. LeonGettler 1850

Looking at the data in a different way is a Top 20 judged by how many followers they have. These are the influencers, the people that everyone is reading. Once again the same top two is well out in front - Frombecca at 22864, about a hundred ahead of Sarahprout on 22754. Again there is a large distance to number 3. The rest of the top 20 is considerably different than the previous list (though there are overlaps). It has several well known people who tend not to follow many people themselves.

3. triplejdools 11540
4. MyfWarhurst 11477
5. doctorkarl 10968
6. miafreedman 9932
7. cameronreilly 9650
8. MariekeHardy 7358
9. mumbrella 6780
10. duncanriley 5958
11. adambspencer 5418
12. katekendall 4860
13. tabloid terror 4815
14. AnnabelCrabb 4746
15. mediahunter 4604
16. triplejtvdoctor 4058
17. LeighSales 3995
18. firstdogonmoon 3914
19. ccoaster2002 3906
20. Joe_Hildebrand 3592

Next is a look at who is doing all the Tweeting. This time a very different Top 20 emerges with Stilgherrian well out in front heading towards 30,000 tweets. Just 3 of the people in previous lists make this one. They line up as follows:

1. stilgherrian 29382
2. johnlacey 25347
3. cameronreilly 22669
4. Warlach 21145
5. djackmanson 15049
6. bronwen 14180
7. kateedwards 14072
8. frombecca 12865
9. bengrubb 12629
10. mediahunter 12470
11. duncanriley 12374
12. ssharwood 11599
13. barrysaunders 11270
14. tomatom 10837
15. firstdogonmoon 10367
16. renailemay 10133
17. jason_a_w 9593
18. earleyedition 8775
19. tabloid terror 8289
20. wolfie_rankin 7814

Next, a look at the ratio of following to followers.

Here are the top 20 of those who follow a lot more people than follow them. Poppy Masselos leads the way following 2.193 times as many people as follow her. It could be argued that these people are the media listeners of Australian Twitter (though there are any number of other explanations). This list has very little overlap with any of the previous lists.

1. PoppyMasselos 2.193906
2. sam_ikin 2.149254
3. ebaral 1.946903
4. jodieobrien 1.918605
5. loopymedia 1.752525
6. nadine_lee 1.672065
7. UrsulaHeger 1.492877
8. PaulWiggins 1.456664
9. Ericdot 1.444444
10. tanwatt 1.442623
11. princessfluffy 1.422535
12. bjj4me 1.406926
13. claireorourke 1.402778
14. andrewjcrook 1.382653
15. SarahElks 1.378125
16. barrysaunders 1.329523
17. LeonGettler 1.3019
18. MWikramanayake 1.293839
19. rossprowd 1.280822

At the other end of the scale are the people whose followers vastly outnumber the amount of people they follow. These are the people who presumably are there to be heard but not necessarily to listen (but again many other interpretations are possible). Leading the way is the ABC’s Dr Karl who follows just three people but is followed by 10, 968 for a ratio of 0.000274. The top 20 is:

1. doctorkarl 0.000274
2. adambspencer 0.006645
3. MyfWarhurst 0.006709
4. cmrosemary 0.009901
5. triplejtheking 0.010442
6. MariekeHardy 0.012639
7. miafreedman 0.021043
8. AClennell 0.023256
9. paulajoye 0.023335
10. LeighSales 0.023529
11. therealrocky123 0.027778
12. newslab 0.027778
13. triplejtvdoctor 0.028093
14. Jeanti 0.040359
15. liamphillips 0.045455
16. jessmcguire 0.04797
17. triplejdools 0.05156
18. bernardkeane 0.051931
19. brandstand 0.05852
20. JoannaSavill 0.059499

Next, a look at the ratio of followers to tweets. A high number here means that the user is not Tweeting much despite having a large audience. I’m not sure if this metric is in any way important though it is interesting that 7 out of the top 20 are from the ABC.

The ABC’s Misha Ketchell leads the way with a following of 168 despite having tweeted just once. The data in this category needs to be divided into two segments. Firstly there are those like Ketchell with a smaller amount of followers who essentially seem to use Twitter, if at all, to lurk. The second category is those who have a very large following but their Twitter posting is low in comparison. Adam Spencer is an example here with 5,418 followers but just 53 posts giving him roughly 102 followers per tweet.

The full top 20 of high followers to tweets (with category number in brackets) is:
1. mishaketch 168 (1)
2. adambspencer 102.2264 (2)
3. liamphillips 66 (1)
4. Djfcm 52.2 (1)
5. triplejtheking 28.5614 (2)
6. Heidi75 20.33333 (1)
7. Jeanti 20.27273 (1)
8. MyfWarhurst 16.87794 (2)
9. marshallheald 16.66667 (1)
10. tburton 13.44444 (1)
11. zarabee 12 (1)
12. Joe_Hildebrand 11.40317 (2)
13. ScottPape 10.89051 (2)
14. paulajoye 10.10266 (2)
15. valens quinn 9.6 (1)
16. GeorgiaWaters 9.380952 (1)
17. abcmarkscott 8.715909 (2)
18. heraldsunscoop 8.062201 (2)
19. triplejtvdoctor 7.84913 (2)
20. triplejdools 7.734584 (2)

At the other end of the scale are those who are generous with their tweets compared to the number of followers they attract.

John Lacey leads the way with his 1,451 followers enjoying over 25,000 tweets for a ratio of 0.057 followers per tweet. The top 20 is as follows:

1. johnlacey 0.057245
2. Ericdot 0.068381
3. wolfie_rankin 0.069235
4. s_bridges 0.081579
5. ssharwood 0.092508
6. djackmanson 0.093428
7. dellvink 0.098243
8. kateedwards 0.099204
9. jason_a_w 0.101115
10. stilgherrian 0.111735
11. ChrisRhyss 0.11488
12. mcjp 0.124486
13. cate3221 0.12573
14. sonya_gee 0.128358
15. alexkidman 0.129713
16. barrysaunders 0.131943
17. foraggio 0.133285
18. Warlach 0.138
19. bengrubb 0.141104
20. JenBennett 0.150236

There were no real surprising conclusions from the data apart from the two ladies Frombecca and Sarahprout that dominate the following/followers count. I don't have a ready explanation why they are so far in front in both categories.

The next step I'd like to do is measure influence by Retweets over a week to see whether there are any insights from that data.

Any thoughts?


MikeFitz said...

Excellent analysis, Derek.

Who would'a thunk? @PoppyMasselos and @DoctorKarl at opposite ends of the same scale?

Dave Earley said...

Great post Derek and a great way to interpret the data.

Now just need some data visualisation ;)

Jason said...

I'm (@thetowncrier) not on a single list!

That's tragic...

Clearly I need to crank up the bell-ringing.

You need a metric for being obnoxiously righteous about journalism/media. I'd be number one with a bullet!

Derek Barry said...

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

sorry about the no-show @Jason you were definitely in my master list. Not sure how I'd come up with a unbiased way to measure obnoxious righteousness, that would definitely be in the tweet of the beholder :-)

Renai LeMay said...

I'm famous!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, @melissadoyle has 5412 followers, is following 75 and has 382 updates. Seems to be missed off your list.

Mel said...

Interesting number-crunching. Like you I'm not sure what it signifies, though.

However, I said this on Dave's post and I'll say it again here: Misha's surname is Ketchell, not Ketch - he couldn't have the rest in his username because of the character limit on Twitter.

Derek Barry said...

@Mel oops my apologies to Misha KetchELL. Will fix up the error in the original post.

@anon, correct - Melissa Doyle wasn't in the dataset. I did say it wasn't exhaustive.

Chris Schwarz said...

Although your analysis is basic you conduct it on an interesting segment. Good job.

The biggest in depth statistical analysis ive seen are by Sysomos entitled An In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World

Girl Clumsy said...

Now I feel guilty I don't follow more people!

Great statistical analysis, though - I got no head for maths. :)

It's interesting, the whole Twitter phenomenon - somehow I think the reasons for tweeting and following will be as individual as the tweeters themselves!

Peter Wilkinson said...

Hi Dave, I would be really interested in your further interpretation of that data.

There is some mind-boggling (and valuable) info there - and you might have some interesting insights into Twitter/journos/influencers/followers.


Derek Barry said...

@girl, I think you've nailed it. Use of twitter IS highly individual - which makes me wary of making any grand claims about the survey.

@peter - for the reason I've given to Girl Clumsy I'd be reluctant to read too much more into my data set. As I wrote yesterday, my methodology is flawed and I'd need a more scientific approach (with more data and more time) before I'd be confident about making any further conclusions.

Anonymous said...

IMHO There are two reasons that @frombecca is so far in front are simple IMO -she is cheerful, generous and gracious.

(1) she *always* takes the time to replies to Tweets in which she is mentioned;
(2) she answers all manner of questions on her specialist topic (no matter how silly);
(3) she is generous about attributing the tweets of others; &
(4) she always thanks people for RTs.

Gary Hayes said...

Good try but a bit confused by some of the logic here and the filtered start list - but hey. Suggest you look at two things

1) which measures all your elements but also includes a good deal of retweeting and one of the important aspects - conversation! How often tweeters talk back and have a 2 way thread. This will make a lot more sense than raw follower/following numbers.

2) Also re: journalists on twitter have a look at one of Australia's top tweeters Laurel Papworth's compilation from January, 67 and many more, rated and discussed

Derek Barry said...

@gary thanks for the suggestions.

I'm fairly sure Dave's list used Laurel's as a startpoint.

Wolfie! said...

I see some of those figures and cringe.

How can anyone follow that many people or have that many followers and not go insane?

Even with the relatively small group I follow, It's easy enough to miss general tweets which I'd find interesting, funny or useful.

Of course, there are loads of people who join things and then stay completely silent too.



Fascinating stuff, Derek—shows some journos are out to engage but others are out to broadcast (based on my interpretation). The former would get my vote if I had to choose which ones would survive in the new-media landscape.