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This article was published on February 24, 2010

Who Is More Popular On Twitter – Bill Gates Or The Dalai Lama?

Who Is More Popular On Twitter – Bill Gates Or The Dalai Lama?
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

twitter-birdWith the end of the Suggested User List, at least its first configuration, we have entered into a new world on Twitter: people actually have to be interesting to garner followers.

In the last few weeks we have seen to major new public figures join Twitter, Bill Gates and the Dalai Lama. Given the immense global popularity of both of these individuals, the only question that we need to ask is which of the two is more popular.

Of course, Twitter has always been a little bit tech-heavy in its user demographic which might give Mr. gates and edge. But, Twitter has become increasingly global and mainstream so we might see an edge for the Dalai Lama. Given that both users joined at different dates we are going to make comparative distinctions of their follower growth. TwitterCounter will provide us with the data.

Who won the first day race, that is, who racked up the most followers on day one? Let’s take a look:

twitter follower count

Now according to TwitterCounter data, both had huge first days. They both grew more in their first day than me and you will in our whole live. But who came out on top? As you can no doubt tell from the graphs, Mr. Gates absolutely trashed Mr. Lama on Day one. Gates grabbed 261,000 followers in one day while the Dalai Lama only found 89,000.

This would make it appear to be a clean win for the man behind Microsoft, right? Think again. While Bill surely won the first day sprint, who is winning the longer term race? The results might surprise you.

Bill Gates has been on a steady growth plain since joining Twitter, adding an average of some 5,000 followers a day or so. He is expected to reach 695,000 followers in the next thirty days. No small feat, as he is doing this completely organically.

Now while the Dalai Lama may have gotten off to a slower start, he has been adding over twelve thousand followers a day since his first day. You will of course note  a similar burst of rapid growth in Mr. Gates following his first day. That is, his 5,000 followers a day is his steady rate of growth, while the Dalai Lama is still quite new, and thus has a less steady follower growth rate.

There is something important to note, however. Mr. Gates saw a steady drop in his follower growth rate down to his current level. The Dalai Lama instead has actually been accelerating his growth rate in the past few days.

We cannot guess the future, it may be that both will soon level off, having found most of their fans on Twitter. But it does seem that while Bill Gates made a bigger splash on his first day, the continued strength of the Dalai Lama makes him a strong long-term contender.

Finally, TwitterCounter has some interesting estimations for @dalailama. According to them he is expected to reach 683,000 followers in the next thirty days. That would put him nearly neck and neck with Bill Gates, in a much shorter time frame.

He is of course likely to “cool off” some in the next few weeks, but if he can keep just a little more than half his current momentum he will catch Mr. Gates. Time will tell, to the races!

TwitterCounter is affiliated with TheNextWeb.

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