A list of the most tweets from Digital Capital Week is making the rounds today.
The list, generated by the Bivings Group and “powered by TwitterSlurp,” does seem to accurately record the volume of tweets authored by individuals, as well as the number of @mentions generated by those tweets.
Well and good.
Unfortunately, these kinds of lists are akin to the measuring the influence of people on Twitter by the number of followers they have.
As Anil Dash put it earlier this year, no one has a million followers on Twitter. The “million follower fallacy” has since been validated by research, confirming the common sense understanding of many long-term observers of Twitter.
Instead of measuring tweet volume, looking at influence as measured by retweets, @mentions and click throughs is useful, along with trickier offline analysis that might include catalyzing people to do things offline. Charlene Li’s tweet that she was heading over to a keynote on open leadership, for instance, motivated some people to come see her speak.
To get a sense of influence, it might be useful to parse the list of “top #DC Week” Twitter accounts through TweetReach.
A rough “back of the envelope calculation” might compare the ratio of tweets to mentions. Pulling from #DCWeek stats and using that ratio, it’s possible to generate a better list of the folks who had social capital during D.C. Week.
Andy Carvin (@acarvin), for instance, “only” tweeted 52 times but had 209 mentions.
Here are some other notable high ratios:
@frankgruber: 115 tweets, 259 mentions
@Jillfoster: 40 tweets, 104 mentions
@dcweek: 234 tweets, 767 mentions
@corbett3000: 96 tweets, 410 mentions
@digitalsista: 31 tweets, 82 mentions
@darthcheeta: 29 tweets, 82 mentions
@mikeschaffer: 33 tweets, 62 mentions
@noreaster: 46 tweets, 137 mentions
That ratio is confounded by the reach of an account, like @jeffpulver. 36 tweets, 462 mentions, but to more than 360,000 followers.
If you took that ratio and factored in reach of the user, it might come closer to reflecting a “top Twitterer” from a given event or #hashtag chat.
Have at it, math geeks.
The bottom line is that we don’t have terrific technological tools to assess the “best tweets” or top Twitterers after the fact, though tools like Twazzup.com can help in the moment.
For those who think it’s all silly, fine. But measuring audience sentiment and journalists’ coverage at events is likely to be something of interest to politicians, businesses and media alike. Here’s hoping that the analysis relies upon more than volume.