December 19, 2007


Tweeterboard is a way of looking at who is influential on Twitter based on their conversations with other Twitter users. Services showing how many followers a Twitter user has and how many Twitter users a Twitter user is following have been around a long time. Examples of these services are Twitterholic, Twitterposter, Twitdir and Terraminds Twitter Search.

The basic idea of Tweeterboard is that conversations - which Twitter user talks to other Twitter users - is according to the people behind Tweeterboard a better measure of influence and engagement than followers, friends and update frequency. The reputation of a Twitter user is calculated based on who talks (links) to this user. Tweeterboard is currently aware of about 2600 users, of which 1500 or so are active Twitter users with public updates.

You can have a look at the top 100 list published by Tweeterboard. This list is still pretty volatile.

Tweeterboard has implemented a very interesting concept, although it is unclear how the metrics are derived. As soon as there is more clarity in how the metrics are calculated, it is quite likely that some Twitter users will try to score high in the ranking (using SEO-like tactics).

2600 users is only a small subset of the complete twitosphere. Twitdir reported today 685,000 Twitters users with a public profile. As shown in a previous post on this blog a long tail effect can be observed in the twitosphere. Only a small subset of users have high values for the traditional metrics (following, followers, updates).

Twitter users have sometimes good reasons to keep their messages private. Twitter offers the possibilty to its users to declare their account private. Only accepted users are able to read the messages of private Twitter accounts. The private nature of a specific Twitter account does not exclude that this Twitter user can be very influential within his community of followers. Tweeterboard is only able to trace the public influence of Twitter users. Replies from public Twitter accounts to messages from private Twitter accounts are captured. The original messages however remain inaccessible to Tweeterboard.

Twitter is a global community. At the same time there are numerous subcommunities within the global twitosphere. Each of these subcommunities has its own dynamics. You can get an idea of this dynamics by browsing thru the different states of the twitosphere by country I already published on this blog (see the side bar). The subcommunities - often by topic, by language or by country - have members who are also connected to other subcommunities, resulting in subcommunities that are often interlinked. Examples of subcommunities are the Twitter users from the Netherlands (see which Twitter users TwitterNL is following), the Twitter users from Argentina (see Tuitiar), the Spanish speaking Twitter users (see TuitHispana), the Twitter users from Madrid (see Twittmad).

It would be interesting to see the influence rankings not only on a global level - as presented on the current top 100 page - but also by subcommunity. Companies only active in a specific geographical location (a continent, a country or even on a lower level) are not always interested in who's influential on Twitter on a global scale, but rather on who's influential with their geographical location and perhaps also domain of activity. It will be a real challenge to draw clear boundaries around subcommunities.

One final remark, the developers of Tweeterboard still have to fix some loose ends. While trying to find out the metrics for specific users (within my subcommunity), I sometimes got error messages.

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