(Click the gallery to see the top ten)
David Cameron may run the country but when it comes to power online he’s eclipsed by our nation’s pop stars. This is according to a survey of the UK’s 140 most influential Tweeters, which saw each member of boy band One Direction (and Ed Sheeran to boot) rank higher than the prime minister.
Liam Payne claimed the top spot on PeerIndex’s lists, followed by Harry Styles, with the One Direction tween-idols hauling in just less than 50 million followers collectively on the micro-blogging site.
Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran took the 6th spot followed by Cameron and Piers Morgan (one of the few transatlantic Britons included). Caitlin Moran and Ricky Gervais rounded out the top 10.
However, it should be noted that Cameron did manage to overcome the handicap of a relatively tiny Twitter following. The PM has fewer than 500,000 followers on the site, nine times less than ex-News of the World editor Piers Morgan and roughly the same as author and columnist Moran.
The ranking purposefully excluded journalists from the main national newspapers (as well as newspaper’s main Twitter accounts) but plenty of individuals who came under the ambiguous heading of “writers / columnists / activists” made the cut - valued for their capacity to “trigger debate (and disagreement) across the spectrum”.
In addition to Moran at the no.9 spot, The Independent’s Owen Jones was also included on the list (13th most influential) as well as Guardian columnist and founder of the Liberal Conspiracy blog, Sunny Hundal (no.31).
The list’s methodology looked at how the public engaged with each user, counting favourites, retweets and responses, with engagement from other ‘influential’ tweeters weighted as more important than the opinions of the hoi polloi.
After David Cameron, the next-most influential political figure was Labour Leader Ed Miliband (ranked at no.29), followed by Labour MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson (no.32) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne at no.33. Boris Johnson (no.41) and Ed Balls (no.42) took the next highest spots.