Hewlett-Packard researchers take a look at what makes Tweeters influential in Twitter terms.
They conclude that the best measure is not the number of followers someone has. It’s his or her knack for getting followers to retweet their original tweets:
To automatically identify influencers, the authors devised an algorithm called the IP Algorithm. This algorithm assigns a relative influence score and passivity score to every user:
- “Passivity” is a measure of how difficult it is for other users to influence him or her
- “Influence” depends on both the quantity and quality of the user’s audience
The paper concludes: “This study shows that the correlation between popularity and influence is weaker than it might be expected. This is a reflection of the fact that for information to propagate in a network, individuals need to forward it to the other members, thus having to actively engage rather than passively read it and cease to act on it.”
During the time of the study, which was admittedly short, the most influential Tweeter users by this standard were @mashable, @jokoanwar, @google, @aplusk, @syfy, @smashingmag, @michellemalkin, @theonion, @rww, and @breakingnews.
You can read the actual HP study here.