Have you ever wondered about Twitter followers and which accounts stand out? Or how the #GIS14_Turfbowl tweet rally was counted? I think it is interesting to look at some of these things, and with the Twitter API and streaming API, it is possible to obtain and study a tremendous amount of data.
I've been looking into this in my spare time this week, trying to explore some of the available data, and I made these four charts that show a few things about the accounts that follow @asianturfgrass; these data were obtained using the ScraperWiki Twitter tools, and the charts were made using ggplot2 in R.
As of 15 February 2014, there were 1350 accounts following @asianturfgrass, and the greatest number were created in 2011. Incidentally, the @asianturfgrass account was started on 1 January 2011. For the most part, we can expect that twitter accounts following @asianturfgrass will be interested in research, advice, and teaching about turfgrass -- in short, interested in turfgrass information.
I had thought that there may be an increase in accounts opened in 2012 and 2013 from 2011, as it seems that more turfgrass managers and turf companies are using Twitter. However, for my account, the plurality of follower accounts were created in 2011.
Of the accounts following me, I looked at their follower to following ratio. That, I thought, might give some indication of just how influential or famous that person or company is.
The chart above shows the 15 accounts following me with the highest follower:following ratio as of today. And it is certainly a who's who of the turfgrass industry, from tournament courses to turfgrass researchers to famous consultants and superintendents.
For the two charts below, you will want to click on the image to see at a larger size. They both show the same thing, the number of tweets from an account on the x-axis, and the number of followers of that account on the y-axis. The first one shows all of the accounts following @asianturfgrass as of today, and the second one shows only those with less than 20000 tweets and less than 7500 followers. That is, it zooms in on the data.
We can see that the vast majority of accounts are bunched in the region with less than 2500 tweets and with less than 1000 followers. The accounts that stand out, then, must be exceptional in some way. For an account to stand out from the pack, using this scatterplot, either the account sends a lot of tweets, has a relatively large number of followers, or both.
For an interesting look at the entire scope of Twitter accounts, see Tweets Loud and Quiet by Jon Bruner.