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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Who do the people of Twitter follow? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

During yesterday's discussion of Twitter's suggested user's list, I got an excellent suggestion from Sarah Delman, CEO of the news-oriented startup, Of Record, Inc.

Here's the story...

We've heard that the SUL is like the list of books that employees of a book store recommend to customers. So this raises the question -- which "books" do the employees of Twitter read -- i.e. who do they follow, and how does that correlate to the list of Twitter users on the SUL?

I loved the idea -- it's my favorite kind of investigative reporting, because it involves programming. A picture named sidesmiley.gif

Thanks to the Twitter API, it was actually possible to write a crawler that:

1. Generates a ranked list of who they follow and

2. Highlights the ones who are on the SUL.

I've written and run that crawler and the lengthy table on this page provides the result:

You can judge for yourself who influences the people of Twitter, and how that in turn influences the SUL.

There's a wealth of other information in the table, I've already spent a couple of hours pondering it, but it's time to share it with everyone else, and see what you all come up with.

Also thanks to Tom Reynolds for getting me the contents of the SUL late last night in response to a query I posted on Twitter. I didn't know where to find it, and it turns out it's hiding in plain sight on a page on

Also note that people come on and off the SUL. So there are people with high follow counts who are not on the list, who were at one time.

Update #1: There are four accounts on the SUL that have 0 followers at Twitter: Ali_Nejad, AstrobiologyNAI, LIVESTRONGCEO, PEOPLEPets.

Update #2: Who do the people of the NY Times follow?

Rebooting The News #11 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last night's podcast is up this morning, bright and early! A picture named sidesmiley.gif

A theme from last week continues this week: Bug catching as a key practice in a re-booted system of news. Jay unfolds an example from this week: the AP's coverage of the Twitter TV show.

The TechGuardian asks How much is it worth to be one of Twitter's suggested users?

Dave discusses BitTorrent and why he put RTN 1-10 on it.

CheckBox News, Dave's mock-up of a re-booted user interface for television news where you can uncheck the streams you don't want and check the ones you do, and program your TV set that way.

A picture named vc.gifFor sources of inspiration (it's his turn) Dave returned to three: James Burke's public television series Connections, about the history of science and technology (inventions are usually the result of a synthesis of things created by earlier inventors); the Cluetrain Manifesto (ten years old and great); and VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers-- the demo for which was almost a spiritual experience. With a response from Jay about the common thread: distributing power outward from the insiders to the users.

Two views of the announcement this week that the New York Times had hired a social media editor, Jennifer Preston.

Dave argues that the great news organizations should be the operators and originators of systems like Twitter. It's not too late, but soon it will be, he warns.

We close with a short reading from Barbara Ehrenreich's commencement speech to the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. "A recession won't stop us. A dying industry won't stop us. Even poverty won't stop us because we are all on a mission here."


Last update: Monday, June 01, 2009 at 5:02 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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