The latest in our efforts to quantify the unquantifiable and reduce you to a mere number was launched yesterday. Yet again we brutalise complex human concepts like Trust, Popularity, Influence and Engagement with our over-simplistic (but pretty bloody clever) algorithms. With the Social Media Index (SMI) we did it to try measure ‘influence’ across a variety of social media platforms and now we have had a bit of a think about Twitter. Well, I say “we” but really I mean the fiendishly smart Jonny Bentwood.

Twitter is, as you know, the platform de-jour, but how do you begin to sort through it to find out who is important to you or your client? How can you use it better, particularly if it’s having an increasing role in how you manage relationships? To help us do this across all our Edelman teams and at scale (and dynamically as the twitterverse is developing and changing so rapidly) we have built a tool which we have been using for a while and which from today is open for use by anyone.

It’s called Tweetlevel. It looks at Twitter users four ways:

1. Popularity (how many people follow you – the easy one)
2. Influence (is what you say interesting and how many people listen to it)
3. Engaged (are you actively participating within your community – vs just broadcasting)
4. Trusted (do people believe what you say)

It does all this based on this formula (there’s always a formula or an algorithm or something):

The full methodology is at the bottom of this post. Crudely, though, this is how we come to those different weightings:

Weighted for Popularity

The key variable is the number of people someone has following them. There are many online tools that show this such as Twitterholic.

Weighted for Engagement

The key variables are an individual’s participation with the Twitter community (as measured by the Involvement Index), with additional emphasis on the frequency of people name pointing an individual (via @username), the numbers of followers and the signal to noise ratio. Other attributes were included in the final score but were given a lower weighting.

Weighted for Influence

The key variables in this instance is a combination of the number and authority of someone’s followers together with the frequency of people name pointing an individual (via @username) and the how many times and individuals posts are re-tweeted. Other attributes were included in the final score but were given a lower weighting.

Weighted for Trust

The best measure of trust is whether an in individual is will to ‘trust’ what someone else has said sufficiently that they are also prepared to have what they tweeted associated with them. The key metric in this instance looks at combination of retweets and references (shown through ‘via’. Other attributes were included in the final score but were given a lower weighting.

As ever, these are big value judgements and I am sure our labelling of them will raise the usual concerns. It is, we stress, a fairly blunt tool, but it does begin to help you think about twitterers in a way that we have found useful.

The proof of the pudding is always in the eating they say and so here I have taken Valeria Maltoni’s list of 100 PR people worth following on Twitter and put it through Tweetlevel. You can of course put any group or universe of people you follow through it and come up with your own rankings. We routinely do this now across all sorts of sectors and industries for our clients. Valeria listed her 100 in alphabetical order, but I have listed them below in Tweetlevel ranking order. Yes, yes it is list bait, but it is interesting to see where people fall and how they score so differently across the four criteria.

Have a go yourself and as ever let us know what you think.

Name Influence Popularity Engagement Trust


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