Who's really who in the UK Twitterati

Twitter has grown in five years from derided fad to turbocharged engine of change, with its own powerful elite. Tim Walker takes a closer look at the top 100

Last week, Twitter was valued at $10bn. A bit steep, perhaps, but the price tag reflects its influence, not its profitability – which is why Facebook and Google, the world's biggest web firms, are reportedly vying to buy it. Writing about the microblogging site used to generate shouts of derision. "People are dying in Afghanistan," the commenters would cry, making good use of their caps locks. "I DON'T CARE what some celebrity ate for breakfast!!!" But that kind of complaint has largely dried up: most experienced tweeters avoid the topic of breakfast, and even non-tweeters now appreciate the newsworthiness of social networks.

Twitter, we might as well admit, has become a crucial tool in any newsroom. Yes, if a showbiz correspondent is struggling to find a story, he or she may fall back on Kim Kardashian's cupcakes. But Twitter isn't just about celebrities. It's also where breaking news arrives from the streets of Westminster, Tehran and Cairo. (Or, indeed, Afghanistan.) It allows expert voices to conduct conversations in public – to share information, start campaigns, tell jokes and spread interesting or useful so-called content.

The site also starts instant trends, its users frequently massing around a given subject like a flock of migratory birds – and many such trends are started by a single influential tweeter. The Twitter 100 are the most powerful of those tweeters in the UK. This list , the first of its kind, was compiled by i in collaboration with PeerIndex, a social media monitoring group, which analyses and ranks people's online impact. Our methodology is described below. Essentially, we studied the size of each tweeter's audience and the frequency of their tweeting, but also looked at how engaged they were with that audience, and how much impact each tweet had – before seeking further input from a panel of experts in social networking media.

Inevitably, there are familiar names on the list , such as @SarahBrownUK and @Lord_Sugar; @StephenFry, despite his periodic absences, comes in at number 4. But there are also more obscure names (eg, Umair Haque at number 5), with fewer fans but a greater capacity to change minds and agendas with their tweets. The imperfect statistical method behind our rankings would be unlikely to satisfy @BenGoldacre, scourge of bad science (no 18). But without a spot of judicious curating, we'd be unable to reflect the glorious range of voices on Twitter. Several of them could doubtless tell you whether Twitter is really worth $10bn to Google. To the rest of us, it's priceless.

Read the list here

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links