Top analyst micro-bloggers (twitterers)… coming soon


I have noticed a trend over the past year in that there has been a steady rise in micro-blogging (using Twitter) from the analyst community. James Governor explained the difference between a blog and a twitter as:

twitter is better as a hearing aid than a megaphone. better for putting feelers out than shouting into the void. conversation

As you may know, I am a great believer in lists – the main purpose of this is that I want to spend my time and my clients resources with the people who have the greatest influence. In an ideal world I would be able to reach out to everyone in a 1-2-1 environment but unfortunately this is not the case so working out which analysts focuses on what and who listens to what they say is important.

This isn’t a popularity contest but more a way of prioritising. It is now agreed that if you want to engage with analysts, the best way of doing so is in a format that they like.

Similar to the list of top analyst blogs, I am currently compiling a list of top analyst micro-bloggers. At this stage I have just finished the methodology and would welcome feedback both on this and whether any analysts not listed on SageCircle’s excellent directory should be included.


Followers (0 to 25) – Twitter lists the number of followers each user has. Like subscribing to a feed, this is a clear indication of importance as it requires someone to actively request participation. Follower ranges were determined (i.e. more than 20, more than 30, etc.) and each range was assigned a number (0 to 25) that was used as part of the algorithm.

Updates (0 to 25) – How often does someone update what they are doing. This number is purely objective as it scores someone highly no matter what the content of their post (i.e. how relevant is it). Nevertheless it is assumed that if someone posts frequently but has poor content then their ‘followers’ will decrease. Update ranges were determined (i.e. more than 20, more than 30, etc.) and each range was assigned a number (0 to 25) that was used as part of the algorithm.

Conversation (0 to 25) – How many people engage in conversation with you. The clearest way to establish this is to run a search on the number of people who reference @username in a message. The number of times this happens is calculated with each range was assigned a number (0 to 25) – again this was then used as part of the algorithm.

Technobabble Points (0 to 25) – As the only personal subjective measure in the algorithm, 0 to 25 opinion points were assigned to each blog. People who scored highest in this category had frequent, relevant and high-quality content.

Weighting Each specific variable listed above was given a standard score out of 10. Using a weighting scale I varied the importance of the each metric to establish a blogs total score. For the table listed above the following weightings were used:  

    Followers 30%
    Updates 20%
    Conversation 30%
    Technobabble 20%

I welcome your feedback on this and aim to publish the results shortly.


8 Responses to “Top analyst micro-bloggers (twitterers)… coming soon”

  1. To my mind, the best thing about Twitter (even more than blogging) is that it has essentially made us all into analysts. Maybe not in the ‘traditional’ sense, but it has made the ability to comment and converse with others (including the well established ‘big hitters’ of the blog world) far more accessible – and enjoyable!

    I guess how you structure your survey depends on whether you are looking to really only focus on the establishment or recognise emergent individuals and communities who discuss, debate and influence one another over twitter in a way that isn’t as possible through blogging. If you are truly looking to focus on micro-blogging and bloggers who analyse, informa, educate and influence, I think focusing on the usual suspects will be hugely limiting – and produce hugely expected results I’d imagine.

    Does Twitter not spell the start of a new world whereby everyone’s an analyst (or at least all those working in and commenting on this world)? I may not be an analyst formally in the traditional sense, but would like to think that my comments and conversations via Twitter in relation to government and IT are insightful and useful (well mostly!) and make people think and act differently in some small way (the traditional role of the analyst?).

  2. Great comment Dominic.

    You are right in that the one of the joys of ‘new’ media is that it is changing many peoples roles into that of an analyst. However, for the purpose of this study I have elected to only focus on those people whose company is recognised as an analyst firm.

    However, perhaps I could also do a second study with the same methodology with a selected list of individuals. The main question though – is what people do you select? Should this be a pre-selected list or one that is created?

  3. Understand entirely and look forward to seeing the results. The outcomes will be fascinating in terms of seeing how much these firms are practising what (some of them) preach re ‘new media’.

    In terms of a future survey, perhaps you could throw it open to vote (eg nomination re who you most interact with and value gained from this) starting say with UK people initially? Also options around using twitter analytical tools that are out there to identify the people that are not only followed/following but things like ‘@s’ to them/from them etc. People like IBM may also be able to help with their in house software which they’ve used to map strength over relationships between people then mapped into ‘influencer clouds’ (not a phrase they use but a possibility)?

  4. I think the problem with creating a list like this lies in the fact that different people find different value in using Twitter.

    Some find value in putting questions out to the community in the hope of finding an answer, some post links that others find useful, some promote their own blog posts, some are interested in the conversation so will use @ signs more than others, some follow a lrge number more people than follow them so they can listen to the conversation, some have a large following but don’t follow nearly the same number back, and some like Twitter merely to see what they’re friends are doing.

    Add to this the fact that each individual will place differing amounts of value on each of these uses and you instantly find that any list becomes overwhelmingly subjective, even if boiled down just to ‘rank’ analysts.

    Do analysts largely provide links to interesting and relevant articles? Do they provide comment on conversations or current topics of note? Or do they merely respond to people’s questions and offer their own insight?

    On the other side of the coin, do the audience that look to analysts find value from these analysts in this ‘new’ medium?

    Depsite all this, the list is a great idea and I’m looking forward to seeing the results – don’t let my concerns put you off!

  5. Hi, Jonny — great idea to do the Twitter list! I would suggest you add a metric for “Sharing Links.” I think all the best Twitterers do that regularly, and there’s no question it provides provides a valuable and useful service to those who follow. In fact, I would weight it even more than “Conversation.” Sharing helpful information is so much better than just jabbering, at least in what can be said in only 140 characters.

    Here’s another reason why I think Conversation should not be weighted so high: busy online professionals don’t need another channel for conversation — email, IM, voice, and SMS are more than enough. (And then there’s “DMing” on Twitter itself!) I just don’t think conversation is a major feature driving analysts to use Twitter. Among the overall population of people using Twitter today (which recently surpassed one million), I think it’s exceedingly obvious that far, far more of them use the service to read, follow, or lurk, if you will, than engage in conversation — at least within the confines of a 140-character Twit. There are far better ways to converse.


  6. Graeme – you have made some excellent points. I will most certainly adapt my methodology to incorporate your views.
    This also backs up what Ben mentioned in his comment – thanks to you all.

  7. Jonny, The framework is looking good. Will be interested in seeing how the initial list turns out. Cheers, -carter j

  1. 1 People Over Process » links for 2008-04-11

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