Twitter Rankings Insights:
Judge by Following

Everyday at Sysomos, we help people locate key influencers in their areas of interest. We also slice and dice into these influencers on Twitter to see what kind of Twitter users are seeing their tweets.

We thought it would be interesting to get a better handle on Twitter users who follow some of the larger members of the Twitter community. Using our social media monitoring and analytics platform we looked at the authority rankings of five celebrities, five social media heavyweights and five media organizations.

We focused on the kind of Twitter users following these celebrities, social media heavyweights and media organizations. Each Twitter user is assigned an authority ranking between 0 to 10 – with 10 signifying someone with very high reach and influence. This authority ranking is based on the number of followers, following, updates, retweets and several similar measures used by Sysomos. For each of the 15 users in our study, we looked at the average authority ranking for their followers, and the countries where they are located.

We found that while celebrities have a large number of followers, most of them are low authority users. On the other hand, social media heavyweights seem to attract fewer but very engaged Twitter users with high authority rankings.



Celebrities seem to have large amounts of followers with low Twitter authority levels. This could be because they attract everyone from all walks of life. Some people may only be on Twitter to see what their favorite stars have to tweet about.

Celebrities Twitter Follower Authority Table

As the table above shows, most users following these celebrities have a very low authority ranking, partly because they have few followers themselves. Britney Spears has particularly low authority followers, whereas Barack Obama stands out within the three groups with followers who have an average authority ranking of 2.4.


Social Media Heavyweights

Our social media heavyweights seem to have a good spread from all sides of the Twitter authority spectrum with their most common ones being right in the middle. This is likely due to them playing a role in the social media community by sharing and conversing with other high authority users and lower authority people trying to learn from them.

Social Media Heavyweights Table

The table above shows that many Twitters user following our social media heavyweights are very Twitter-savvy, as well as having a lot followers and high authority ranking themselves.


News/Media Sources

This category seems to be the most spread out. It appears that depending on the type of content that a source delivers, a diffrent type of Twitter user is attracted. Our traditional media sources that deliver a variety of content such as and The New York Times appear to attract more people who are only using Twitter for information but have less interaction with the Twitter community. Not surprisingly, our sources that specialize in social media attract users that are more active on Twitter.

News Information Sources Table

As the numbers show, online publications such as ReadWriteWeb and Mashable have a higher authority ranking and more connected Twitter followers than traditional news sources such as the New York Times.


While every Twitter account we examined in this survey has a large number of followers, they also have their own kind of followers. It is important for peple to understand the landscape when they search for key influencers within the social media realm. As well, different kinds of followers can play key roles within the different areas. Simply because a follower has a low Twitter authority, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth connecting with. The opposite holds true for followers with high authority levels; simply because they have a high Twitter authority, doesn’t make them the right influencer for everything. It is important to know who your target audience, and who influences them the most. Stay tuned to see what kind of Twitter rankings data Sysomos comes up with using the new image monitoring tool.



Follower details for each of the 15 users we analyzed is presented below, with both authority and country breakdown.

Details About Celebrities

Ashton Kutcher Followers

Britney Spears Followers

Ellen DeGeneres Followers

Lady Gaga Followers

Barack Obama Followers

Details About Social Media Heavyweights

Chris Brogan Followers

Jason Falls Followers

Jeremiah Owyang Followers

Steve Rubel Followers

Scott Stratten Followers

Details About News/Media Sources

NY Times Followers Followers

TechCrunch Followers

Mashable Followers

Read Write Web Followers