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Who do the people of Twitter follow?

Monday, June 01, 2009 by Dave Winer.

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.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here's the story... Permalink to this paragraph

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? Permalink to this paragraph

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

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

1. Generates a ranked list of who they follow and Permalink to this paragraph

2. Highlights the ones who are on the SUL. Permalink to this paragraph

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

http://scripting.com/sul/twitterCorp.html  Permalink to this paragraph

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

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.  Permalink to this paragraph

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 twitter.com. Permalink to this paragraph

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.  Permalink to this paragraph

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

Update #2: Who do the people of the NY Times follow? Permalink to this paragraph

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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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Last update: 6/1/2009; 5:02:54 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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