Hotshots, rock stars, geek heroes - many of us follow a lot of the same people online. But who do they pay the most attention to themselves? The influencers of influencers are of interest for a lot of different reasons, most appropriately because finding them is a good way to dive deeper into niche topics.
Twitter exposes conversations that can show us who's in anyone's inner circle because conversations there are public and programatically accessible. In the following post we look at the data and find out who has the most reciprocal conversations on Twitter with 10 geek heroes - from the founders of big sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon to nonprofit geeks working to challenge injustices.
There's something a little uncomfortable about being able to see this information. Fact is, though, it's part of the nature of this powerful new system of communication. We expect that data parsing like this is only the beginning.
In the charts below, assembled using developer Pete Warden's service Mailana, you'll see the top 5 people these geek heroes have reciprocal conversations with on Twitter and a screenshot of their larger web of connections. You can click through the links below to visit the full Mailana interface or visit this page to learn more about the methodology. On Warden's site you can click on the "info" links and see exactly what topics these friends discuss. There you'll see explanations like "@kanter sent 47 messages to @agahran and got 46 back." Note that these charts are just based on reciprocated public replies - not private direct messages.
Evan Williams was the co-founder of Blogger and is now the co-founder and CEO of Twitter. He announced today that he's an expectant father! Who does he converse with most on Twitter?
1. Sara Morishige Williams, Ev's wife. Good man, Ev.
2. Chris Sacca, a startup investor and adviser to Twitter.
3. Jason Goldman, Product Manager at Blogger turned Product Manager at Twitter.
4. Biz Stone, Twitter's co-founder.
5. Sarah Lacy, tech business journalist (now on staff at TechCrunch) and author of the excellent Web 2.0 history book Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good.
Here's Ev's full profile on Mailana. (Photo CC from Joi Ito.)
Veronica Belmont is everybody's favorite geek video host. Who does she trade Tweets with the most? You might discover a person or two on her list.
1. Ryan Block, gadget blogging rock star and founder of Gdgt.com.
2. Tom Merritt, CNET podcast host.
3. Casey McKinnon, web actress and show host.
4. Patrick Norton, Veronica's co-host on Tekzilla.
5. Felicia Day, gaming web show host.
You can explore the Veronica-sphere here.
Kevin Rose, founder of social news site Digg, has long been one of the most-followed people on Twitter. More than 320,000 have opted-in to receiving Tweets from Kevin. He's following 160 people in return. Who does he have the most conversation with? Rose's list is unsurprising; it's mostly co-workers.
1. Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibrary.TV.
2. Aubrey Sabala, Marketing Manager at Digg
3. Joe Stump, a developer at Digg.
4. David Prager, one of Rose's co-founders at web TV station Revision3.
5. Alex Albrecht, co-host of Diggnation.
You can see Rose's full list here.
1. James Governor, an open source analyst at RedMonk.
2. Fred Wilson, one of the best known venture capitalists in the Web 2.0 world. Wilson has invested extensively in Twitter, for example.
3. Validis Krebs, the man behind Orgnet, a social network analysis and consulting firm.
4. Paul Kedrosky, writer and pundit on international finance.
5. Jennifer Pahlka, Web 2.0 Conference Chair.
Here's Tim's full profile on Mailana.
Shaquille O'Neal hasn't always been a geek hero. The basketball great is fast becoming one, though, and if you haven't read about his awesome real-life meetups with Twitter friends, you really should. Shaq talks to all kinds of people on Twitter all day long (usually from his iPhone, it appears) - but who does he converse with the most?
1. Kathleen Hessert, a sports marketing Twitter pro.
2. A. Jo. Martin, Director of Digital Media & Research for the Phoenix Suns.
3. @laskey is someone with protected updates; we have no idea who this is.
4. Nate Moller, a marketing consultant.
5. Mona Mohammadi, Deputy to the Senior Adviser at the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to her LinkedIn profile, though that's not mentioned on her Twitter profile.
You can see all of Shaq's closest connections here, though he's such a gentleman we can imagine him taking offense at the idea that he loves any of his Twitter friends more than others!
1. Travis Kalanick is an entrepreneur who sold his P2P company Red Swoosh to Akamai in 2007. He advises and invests in startups.
2. Tim Ferriss is the author of the book 4 Hour Work Week.
3. Melody McCloskey, manager of video at Current.tv.
4. Gary Vaynurchuk, wine and social media man.
5. Zappos, Garrett Camp talks with his shoes.
Here is a full picture of Camp's network, though from the picture below you can see it's actually pretty sparse.
1. Brad Parler, video dude at Powered Production.
2. Ian White is the creator of music sharing site Blip.fm.
3. Tony Adam, manager of search traffic acquisition at Yahoo.
4. Wil Wheaton, a famous guy who claims he disappoints everyone with his lack of responsiveness on Twitter.
5. Jacqui Cheng, Associate Editor at Ars Technica.
Here's the rest of Alexis' inner circle on Twitter.
Jeffrey Levy is the Web Manager at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He Tweets a lot, and well. Who does he Tweet with when he Tweets with other Tweeters?
1. Adriel Hampton works at the San Francisco City Attorney's Office and is a Goverment 2.0-head.
2. Ari Herzog is a strategic consultant.
3. Chris Dorobek, anchor at Federal News Radio.
4. Amy Gahran, a media consultant who was one of my (Marshall's) first web 2.0 heroes.
5. Dr. Mark Drapeau, Government 2.0 guy.
Check out the rest of Levy's inner Twitter circle here.
Jeremiah Owyang has helped bring the stuffy world of corporate industry analysts into the Web 2.0 era of conversation as much as anyone has. He's got more than 36,000 people signed up to get his posts on Twitter, but there are some who he ends up conversing with more than others.
1. Peter Kim, former Forrester analyst with Owyang. Kim is now working on a stealth startup called the Dashis Corporation.
2. Jennifer Leggio, ZDNet social business blogger.
3. Shel Israel, Silicon Valley writer and communications guy.
4. Josh Bernoff, Jeremiah's fellow analyst at Forrester.
5. Amy Worley, VP of marketing at humor book publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing.
You can see the rest of Owyang's inner Twitter circle here.
Beth Kanter is one of the most inspiring non-profit tech consultants in the world. She's raised thousands of dollars on Twitter and has friends from everywhere. Who does she have conversations with more than anyone else, though?
1. Marnie Webb is the co-CEO at Compumentor/TechSoup. You should get to know Marnie; once you do you'll wonder why you waited so long.
2. Amy Gahran, see Jeffrey Levy's list above. Gahran has a lot of conversation with a lot of awesome people.
3. Jonathon D. Colman does SEO for REI.
4. Beth Dunn is a consultant and MBA candidate.
5. Dr. Mani is an Indian entrepreneur and heart surgeon.
There are a lot of people in Kanter's circle. You can meet some of them here.
That's a wrap!
We really like Pete Warden's site Mailana, where all these links and images come from, a lot. We like to combine Twellow and Mailana to find the most followed people in certain industries and then explore their circles of friends.
You should look yourself up on Mailana - you might be surprised who you converse with most often! The possibilities of these and all the tools that can be built on top of the wonderful Twitter API are nearly endless. Pretty interesting, is it not? Who's in your inner circle?