This article was published on October 29, 2009

Analysis of Twitter’s Top 100 Users

Analysis of Twitter’s Top 100 Users
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Glen Allsopp is a guest contributor and writes a blog on Viral Marketing at ViperChill. Glen Allsopp is a guest contributor and writes a blog on Viral Marketing at ViperChill.

twitter-analysisIn terms of traffic, Twitter is becoming a hybrid of Digg (of some years back) and StumbleUpon. By Digg I mean that thousands of blogs are now including “Tweet this” buttons (just like they were with “Digg It” buttons) and like StumbleUpon, Twitter has the ability to send thousands of visitors in a short period of time.

My friend Gyutae managed to leverage over 35,000 hits in two weeks and I know blogs like ours have over 250,000 visitors per month from the service. That’s a lot of traffic.

While getting a huge amount of retweets is one way to get twitter eyeballs on your content, there is another way. And that way, is by having a lot of followers on your account. My personal account only has around 10,000 followers but I’ve had many days of 400+ visitors from the service.

Because I’m often referred to as “Mr. Analytics” I decided it would be interesting to dig further into the statistics of the top 100 users and see if there are any clear factors about what it takes to become a top user or who stands out among the many celebrities using the service.

Number of Followers

Now the reason top users are referred to as such is because of the number of followers that their account has. This is simply people who have clicked ‘follow’ on their profiles and subscribed to their updates. This is probably the only graph in the post that is going to follow a nice gradual direction:


  • Most followers: 3,830,056 (@aplusk – Ashton Kutcher)
  • Least followers: 1,236,521 (@samantharonson – Samantha Ronson)
  • Average number of followers: 1,637,361

As you can see from the chart, there is a clear separation between the top 15 or so users and then the following 85 tend to have very similar numbers. Many of the top 100 positions change on a daily basis because the figures are so close.

Number of Friends

The number of friends section looks at how many people that these top users follow. For most accounts I see, people have around a 1:4 ratio. That means if they were followed by 100 people, they would probably be following around 25. As you will see for most of the top users though, that is far from the case:


  • Most friends: 753,958 (@barackobama – Barack Obama)
  • Least friends: 0 (@womensweardaily – Womens Wear Daily)
  • Average number of friends: 39,754

Most of the top users follow so few accounts that you can barely see them on the chart. While the president of the United States follows more people back than anyone else, Zappos and Whole Foods follow the largest percentage of people that follow them.

Number of Updates

The number of updates is how many tweets each user has sent out. Some of these are automated through RSS feeds (such as @Nytimes) and others are personal tweets, such as Shaquille O’neill (@THE_REAL_SHAQ).


  • Most updates: 37,297 (@Nytimes – New York Times)
  • Least updates: 14 (@ashsimpsonwents – Ashlee Simpson Wentz)
  • Average number of updates: 3,545

It must be nice to have over 1.7 million followers when you have only made 14 tweets. I guess that just shows how passionate Ashlee Simpson fans are. Close to her was Oprah, who with only 72 tweets, has 2.4 million followers. But hey, it’s Oprah!

Length of Membership

The longest person who has been on Twitter in the top 100 users is of course co founder Biz Stone who has been on the service for 44 months. Besides that, I thought it would be interesting to see how long (or short) the top users have been members of the service:


  • Longest membership: 36 months (@Veronica – Veronica Belmont)
  • Shortest membership: 7 months (@kimkardashian – Kim Kardashian, @ashsimpsonwentz – Ashlee Simpson, @peoplemag – People Magazine), @serenajwillians – Serena Williams)
  • Average membership length: 18 months

As you can see, there is no clear correlation between length of time on the site and how many followers that you have. In fact, Ashton Kutcher has only been on the site for half of the average time and is 300,000 subscribers ahead of second place.

Type of Account

Finally, I thought it would be interesting to see how many of the Top 100 accounts were individuals, and how many of the top 100 accounts were some form of business. I expected there to be a lot more individuals than companies. I was right about this, but the two figures were closer than I thought:


  • Number of people: 66
  • Number of companies: 34
  • Most popular person: Ashton Kutcher
  • Most popular business: CNN Breaking News

In fourth place, CNN breaking news is by far the most popular non-individual on the service with a whopping 2.78million followers.


As you can probably tell, the top individuals are generally celebrities. They tend to be people who have acceled in areas of acting, music, or sports. For the few people who aren’t world-known celebrities, they tend to be well known in the tech industry. For example, @Veronica (Veronica Belmont) hosts a show via Revision 3 which was created by Digg founder, Kevin Rose.

All in all, the aim of this analysis was to simply look at the results and see what interesting factors popped up. I think I’ve managed to achieve that and I hope you enjoyed the post!

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