A few weeks ago Bryce Edwards and Geoffrey Miller published their 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.
Patrick Gower. Political Editor TV3.
Patrick was an obvious inclusion on the list. He is active on Twitter, but appears to use it mainly for work purposes, as opposed to including elements of his personal life. But it is good to see that he engages with people who tweet him. One role I see Twitter playing is helping people get a better understanding of members of the media, so as to get a better read on any angle they are taking. Replying to tweets plays a role in this. His Klout score reflects his position as someone who engages with those who engage with him. Though I do find his rather high retweet rate interesting. If I was following a reporter or political editor, I would be doing it to get and insight into break or developing news stories, not to see a huge percentage of retweets.
Felix Marwick. NewsTalk ZB Press Gallery.
Felix averages around the same number of tweets as Patrick, but unlike Patrick he has a fewer retweets. So as someone who is going to provide insight into what stories are breaking, Felix is going to be a much better person to follow. The fact that Felix is listed 34 times per 1000 followers, vs 17 for Patrick, suggests that more people see him as someone worth following.
Katie Bradford. TVNZ Press Gallery.
Katie also falls in the Felix style camp, a lower percentage of retweets, but still willing to reply to people. Unlike Patrick and Felix, who average 10 tweets a day, Katie is a bit less active at just under 9 tweets a day. Though she achieves a higher % of her tweets getting retweeted and fav’d.
Jessica Williams. Radio Live Political Editor.
Jessica has a smaller following than some of the others on this list, but she is one of the more interesting. Unlike Katie, Patrick and Felix, Jessica includes a lot more of herself in her tweets. I think this is a good thing, it gives a bit of an insight into her which helps understand how she sees the world. Even though she has less of her tweets being retweeted, they are retweeted more than others. So she may not send as many retweetable tweets, but when she does her followers are more likely to retweet them.
Tova O’Brien. Political Reporter TV3.
Tova is one of the least active users of Twitter who made the TV/Radio journalists list. 2 Tweets a day gives the indication that she doesn’t see it as a key tool in her kit. Add in the fact that 28% of her tweets are retweets and you get the feeling that her feed is full of tweets that you are likely to see other places, with out adding anything interesting or exciting to your feed.
Barry Soper. Newstalk ZB/Sky News NZ. Political Editor.
Barry is another one of the accounts where you have to question what will be gained by following them. 0.88 tweets a day?
Chris Bramwell. Radio NZ. Political reporter.
I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but 1.27 tweets a day, with 1/3 of those being a retweet. What is there to be gained by following Chris?
Laura McQuillan. Newstalk ZB. Political Reporter.
Laura is another reporter, like Jessica, who lets her personality show through on Twitter. She has a good balance of work related tweets and personal tweets that give an insight into how she sees the world. You can also get an idea of how much of a great follow she is by looking at the number of times that her name appears on this blog.
Brook Sabin. TV3 Political reporter.
Brook manages to beat Tova for the least number of tweets, with less than 1 a day. The number of retweets he gets will be artificially high, due to the low number of tweets he has sent. Other than what his job is, is there any reason to follow Brook?
Heather du Plessis-Allan. TVNZ. Reporter Seven Sharp.
Heather’s one key strength is the fact that she replies to a lot of people. But again, 5 tweets a day, not a huge number. She did make an appearance on the blog lately though.
The 10 people that made the TV/Radio journalism section of the list run rather hot and cold. There are some people on there that are well worth following, but others who seem to have made the list simply because of their job title, who don’t really contribute anything to the online discussion of issues around the election. Twitter is a place where your job title or profile outside of it doesn’t automatically mean that you will be successful on the platform. There are those accounts that get followings cause of who they are, Barack Obama, John Key, far too many actors/actresses/singers to name. But for most people, it is a self made platform. There are at least 4 people in this part of the list who contribute very little to Twitter and the discussion. I think this partly comes about from the focus on having 10 groups of 10, instead of looking for 100 top accounts to follow. If you are going to include someone on a list of people to follow, they should be contributing to the discussion regularly and often. If they had gone with a straight top 100, they may have been able to drop the likes of Brook, Chris, Barry and Tova and replace them with some of the many others that were proposed by those who complained about the make up of the list.