A closer look at the Twitter Top 100: The right wing pundits.

This is the third in a series of posts looking at  Bryce Edwards and Geoffrey Miller’s top 100 tweeters to follow this election. There was much discussion afterwards about the make up of the list, and the lack of female or ethnic members on the list. I have been thinking about it a bit as well, and felt that it was worth taking a bit of a deeper look at some of the people on the list. I am going to run this as a series of posts. I plan to look at each of the categories that Bryce and Geoffry used in their column, apart from the ones for MPs. I am excluding MPs because they would be in a list simply for the fact of being MPs. I am also going to take a look at a selection of those mentioned on Stephanie Rodgor’s alternative top 60, plus an addition of my own.


I am going to use Twitonomy stats to look at each person on the list.


Order is as per NZ Herald article.


Whale Oil. Blogger


Whaleoil needs no introduction. He is not a huge fan of social media. There are plenty of times on his blog where he talks about how MPs and candidates should stay off social media. From a combination of these stats and following him on Twitter, I suspect that a large number of those 43 tweets a day are automated notifications of new blog posts. As can be seen by the number of replies, he is not one for engaging in debate on Twitter. But as the owner of the most read blog in NZ, it is obvious why he is on the list.

David Farrar


David Farrar also needs very little introduction. He is the owner of Kiwiblog. Like Whale Oil, a number of his tweets will be links to his blog. But he has a very high number of replies in his tweets. I have seen him engage in a number of interesting debates, as well as funny little exchanges.


Matthew Hooton


Hooton is another player in the dirty politics saga. He is another person in the right wing pundits list who has a habit of engaging with others on Twitter. However, from what I have seen, a lot of these engagements are in pretty blunt discussions.


Jordan Williams


Jordan, like the previous 3, features in the book Dirty Politics. He is not really that active on Twitter, and is one of the many on this list who are on it because of their profiles off line.


Fran O’Sullivan


Fran O’Sullivan, the only good thing I can say is that she replies to people, which is good. But 1.4 tweets a day. Refer above comment about being on list cause of off line profile.




Redbaiter, I think he is one of the few people on the list that I have blocked. He has a habit of being rather abusive. He is a well known figure on Twitter in New Zealand, but struggles to engage in reasoned debate. Other than being well known, I don’t think Redbaiter contributes anything to the debate on Twitter.


Bill Ralston


Bill is one of two casualties on this list. He has taken a break from Twitter until after the election due to the atmosphere. It is sad that that is the case. He was a good voice to have in debates. He was also someone who engaged in debates and had lots of original content, with very few retweets. If he had stuck around, he would have been well worth the follow, despite his low number of tweets.


Right Wing Fat Cat


I don’t know much about this account, but by the looks of it the account retweets a lot of stuff, with a bit of added comment, or engages with those on the other side of the spectrum.


Bevan Chaung


Bevan is obviously a very active Twitter user, but nearly half of her tweets are retweets. So she doesn’t really contribute much in the way of original content to the discussion.


Once again, the right wing pundits section has a number of accounts that one has to question why they made it. The focus on 10 of each group leads to a number of questionable accounts being included. Just because someone is high profile in the mainstream media doesn’t mean they are going to be high profile, or successful, on Twitter. If you are creating a list of people to follow, you would be listing those who contribute original content, as opposed to those who retweet a lot.