Here is an interesting little tool, it is called twInfluence, and it measures the influence of any individual Twitter user. It works on number of followers and their followers and so the basically the degrees of separation between you and a larger network. Obama has a huge network, and it is argued an even larger 'horizon of communication' because his followers can re-tweet his messages. In the words of twInfluence, this is how it works: "Imagine Twitterer1, who has 10,000 followers - most of which are bots and inactives with no followers of their own. Now imagine Twitterer2, who only has 10 followers - but each of them has 5,000 followers. Who has the most real "influence?" Twitterer2, of course". So, based on the site's calculations, who is influential in British politics?
Well Downing Street have too many followers for a simple calculation to be made so hard to say with that one but we assume it is up there but not in the top 50 globally. Labour fare worse on the whole, Labourlist for example is 25,919th with only 317 followers; Labour Party have slightly more followers with 562 but are only 24,091st. The Conservative Party fare much better with 5,840 followers and so are 4,008th, Cameron though has only 551 followers but they are better networked than Labour as he ranks 15,486th. Party wise the Liberal Democrats come out in the middle, 10,624th with 1,078 followers. Interestingly the strategists and commentators do well, LibDem Mark Pack is 9,387th; Conservatives Craig Elder is 6,832nd and Iain Dale is 8,942nd. But here is the surprising one given interest in politics, Labour's Derek Draper has 50,431 followers and is 477th globally. Why, well it is suggested he has ruthlessly built a network, befriending (following) those with a large network and so gaining reciprocal relationships. And that is the way to make Twitter work, if you want to influence then you need people to get your Tweets, if no-one is listening then you are simply not influential. Derek has advantages of being more than just the Labour online guru, so potentially multiple audiences to draw to his tweets, also he had received a lot of media coverage, but so has David Cameron. Does this mean anything? Who knows, but it is interesting and lets face it everyone wants to know if there is any indication of their influence even if it means little. If you are interested, I have no idea why you would be, I am 11,177th, so I beat David Cameron. Labourlist, and Labour itself but who is counting?