22 August 2010

Malkin Is Twitter's Most Influential Conservative

Michelle Malkin, a conservative commentator and blogger based in Colorado, is the most influential conservative on twitter. (She's also been mentioned as a possible running mate for Tom Tancredo on the American Constitution Party ticket to be Colorado's next governor, a mention that she finds flattering.)

The study that reached the result determined that the ultimate research of someone's ultimately influence on twitter is poorly measured by more crude estimates such as the number of direct followers that someone has on the social network, the average number of times that their postings were retweeted, or the user's "page rank." "The Onion," two news feeds, three tweeters in the entertainment industry, and three tech blogs shared the top ten most influential list with Malkin.

The most influential people in social networks have the following characteristics:

1. A user's influence score depends on the number of people she influences as well as their passivity.
2. A user's influence score depends on how dedicated the people she influences are. Dedication is measured by the amount of attention a user pays to a given one as compared to everyone else.
3. A user's passivity score depends on the influence of those who she's exposed to but not influenced by.
4. A user's passivity score depends on how much she rejects other user's influence compared to everyone else.

Put another way, influence is a measure of how strongly a person's tweets spurs people to action that they would not otherwise take, and the extent to which they have more credibility among their followers than other people that their followers follow.

Michelle Malkin, whose characteristic writing style is inflammatory, and who has a devoted base of politically active conservative followers, is a classic example of the kind of style that is influential in social media.

As Science News aptly put the conclusion: "Going viral takes a posse, not an army."

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