As you probably know by now, AdWeek’s Brian Morrissey curates a constantly changing list of the “most interesting” ad industry voices on Twitter. (Disclosure, I’ve been on it since the beginning.) Anyway, according to AdWeek’s first post on the topic, the point is to make some sense of the noise and reward those generating the signal with inclusion on the AdWeek 25.
Obviously it’s a qualitative judgment. According to the blog posts that accompany the list each week, the roster celebrates those who offer interesting creative perspectives, thought provoking posts, and ad-related Tweets that make you laugh. Conversely, it discharges people for Foursquare check-ins, sucking up to clients and any use of emoticons.
Who knows what any of this means, other than the fact that AdWeek decides whether or not your tweets make you worthy. It may or may not have anything to do with real influence as there’s no analysis of RT’s, followers, or overall Twitter reach.
This week I had an interesting conversation with John Winsor about gaming the system when it came to followers. (We all know people who do that, particularly celebrities and apparently authors who need the numbers to satisfy publisher demands.) But John suggested you can better determine whether or not someone games the system or has real followers by how many lists they’re on in relation to how many followers they have. Lists were announced to great fanfare a year ago, but we don’t hear that much about them anymore.
I asked some of Twitter’s early thought leaders — Laura Fitton, Jason Keath, Jason Falls, and Jonathan Fields among others – whether they thought list ratios was a metric that mattered. Most suggested it’s just one of many ways to analyze influence. You can read Jonathan’s thoughtful response below.
While still a very rough-around-the-edges measure, both number of times listed and list to follower ratio are better indicators of genuine influence than outright follower counts. Many people follow others simply as (1) a reciprocity play to get their follower counts up, even though they have little interest in the person being followed, or (2) because Twitter’s suggestion engine recommends them. That can jack up follower counts without reference to genuine interest and give a very skewed picture of both interest and influence.
With lists, you have people going the extra mile to say “I value you enough to proactively add you to my special list and see what you’re up to,” I’ve also noticed something interesting about follower to listed ratios. They can help you flag people who are gaming their follower counts or who in some way have benefitted from inorganic growth strategies.
I use lists to cull the people I really want to pay attention to versus those I simply follow. I presume others do the same. For that reason, the listed to follower ratio probably does tell you something about how valued someone is by their followers. Whether they have 2,000 or 200,000.
Being a numbers geek, I thought I’d take a look at AdWeek’s top 25 and do a quick analysis of what percentage of followers also added them to a list. They were all way above Ashton Kutcher’s pathetic 1.0 percent. And nearly half had a better number than Chris Brogan’s respectable (especially given his many followers) 9.2 percent. Take a look.
Are you surprised? What’s your ratio? Do you think it matters?
Other metrics of interest: