Saturday, November 21, 2009

7 Tools to Find Who's ‘Big on Twitter’

Social Media can be an overwhelming place: so many people, so little time. So, on Twitter for example, how do you measure influence?

I was curious: Who are the BWOT (Big Women On Twitter) or BMOT (Big Men on Twitter)?

There are six influence graders I like (and yes, I know there are more – please share them) plus a bonus:

1. TweetLevel

This “nifty little service cooked up by Edelman” is still in Beta testing. But it is already my favorite. The composite Influence score is made up of Popularity (followers), Engagement (how much you talk to individuals) and Trust (how often you’re re-tweeted).

Under the About section Edelman’s formula is there for all to see (and isn’t transparency a wonderful thing?) Under Influence Tips there is some great advice on how to succeed on Twitter. And the “How you compare to a few of your friends” feature is a nice touch.

2. Twitalyzer

Probably the most comprehensive free Twitter influence analyzer – but be prepared to spend a lot of time if you want to go deep.

Here, a Tweep is measured in five areas: Influence (friends, followers, frequency of update and signal combined), Signal (the tendency for people to pass along information, as opposed to anecdote), Generosity (the propensity to retweet another), Velocity (your rate of tweeting) and Clout (the likelihood that other people will reference you).

The depth here is amazing: Want to see how you stack up over the past week, the past three months or “all time”? You can do that here. Want to calculate your Return on Influence, Conduct a Consolidated Account Analysis or Learn How to Increase Your Influence? It’s all here. Pack a lunch!

Recent updates (the new look-and-feel and analysis in real time – as opposed to 24-hour delay that had been the norm) make this one really useful tool.

3. Twitter Analyzer

This is a cool tool that slices and dices your time on Twitter for approximately the past 14 days. Here you can learn about your Popularity (total mentions and number of unique people mentioning you) and Reach (total number of people reached and percentage of messages retweeted). But that’s just the beginning. There’s also analysis of Friends, Mentions and Groups.

Want to know your most common hashtag or the person on Twitter who retweets you the most? It’s here. The Online Followers window is a cool minute-by-minute look at how many of your followers are currently online (helpful for timing tweets)

My favorite tool is the Followers Density Map. By mousing over the world map you can see where your followers are (big shout out to the six folks in Latvia who follow me at @mikefixs!) My quibble with this tool is that it seems to have a significant number of sub-tools “coming soon” (and has had them “coming soon” for some time).

4. TwitterGrader

This is, as the saying goes, “an oldy, but a goody.” This tool, from the fine folks at Hubspot is a solid standby. But, it doesn’t reveal how it measures people on Twitter and even changes the algorithm with barely an explanation. Transparency here would make for a much more useful tool.

And there are a couple of major annoyances keeping me from being a huge fan. First, being able to find the Twitter Elite by location is cool, but leave out a comma (in Rochester, N.Y., for example) and you will get a different set of results. Secondly, take any dive into the analytics and try to hit the “Back” button on your browser … you will get the “Webpage Expired” message and you have to start over. Yuck!

And here’s the thing: if a Twitter user has not submitted to being graded (or has not had someone else submit their Twitter name) they do not show up in TwitterGrader results. So it’s your influence among people who also use TwitterGrader – a subset of the Twittersphere.

5. Twitin

So this site does a whole lot of things, but for our purposes check out the Twitin Stats page. Here you’ll find rankings for Tweeter Efficiency (number of followers plus time between tweets), Influence Ratio (unexplained on the page), Retweet Count (how often you are retweeted) and Followers Rank (the number and influence of your followers).

An interesting feature is the “Profile Matches” that tells you who your profile most closely resembles. Will you be a Celebrity, a Web Developer or a Rocket Scientist?

6. Tweet Grade

Like you favorite teacher this grader is an easy grader – a lot of people get an A or an A+. Having said that it’s a good place to check up on people you might want to follow. And, yes, you can grade yourself and tweet the results to the world.

And the bonus:
7. Follower Wonk

And yes I know it’s not technically an influence grader … but it is addictive and will tell you how two or three Twitter accounts stack up. It is very useful when comparing accounts who are competitive or in the same geographic area and very quickly tells you who has the large (an d perhaps) more influential following.

I hope at least one or two of these Twitter influence tools proves useful to you.

In Social Media it’s not just about the numbers – it’s also about what you do with those numbers.

Related posts:

Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness
What Twitter isn’t


  1. Have you ever considered another non business use of these analyzers.

    My issue is that kids are dropping out of school every day. Two and three year out reforms are not going to help them. But, simple,inexpensive and timely interventions could help kids stay in school or at least keep them out of the high risk category of winding up in the criminal justice system.

    As in any enterprise, the "culture" of a school is made manifest in behavior and conversations. The currency of "conversations" is what Twitter makes manifest. Like other currencies, tracking the movement of exchange gives real time data on ever changing structures of influence and power.

    The new opportunity is that positive changes in the real world critically depend on influencers and their followers. In the literature these are "thought leaders" or the "evangelists." In the language of Gladwell, it should be possible to identify the maven, the salesman and the connector.

    This is useful because positive change can more quickly get to scale if just the right resources are focused on just the right people at just the right time.

    It also would give metrics that could be analyzed in the service of crafting better interventions in real time.

    I'm curious if you think this is sensible.

  2. Interesting idea Michael. Unfortunately for now it is an idea ahead of its time since a majority of the "kids" in school have not yet adopted Twitter. They are rapidly doing so, but my guess is that they would need to have at least a 50 percent adoption rate for any analysis of their Twitter use to prove insightful. I like the idea ... now, come on "kids" jump on the Twitter train!