Folio Magazine, the trade journal of print magazine editorial and publishing managers, put out an interesting list of the pubs with the greatest number of Twitter followers, and how their follower lists have changed since the beginning of the year. Not surprisingly Time and People lead the list, both with more than two million followers apiece. The top 11 magazines all have more than one million followers. Eight magazines posted growth of more than 100 percent since January, with Seventeen leading the way, close to 150 percent growth at 282,000 followers.
The Economist and the New Yorker both added more than 500,000 followers in the past nine months. (You can see the former's tweet pattern thanks to TweetStats below.) National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and Men's Health are just a few of the print pubs that have seen doubling of their followers in the same time period. Even venerable Playboy has gone from 131,000 followers in January to more than 331,000 now. With more than 15,000 tweets too and, yes, people are supposedly following them for the articles, we know.
Fashion magazine Vogue sends out on average three tweets per day, all from the Twitter Web interface, and is now up to close to 850,000 followers. Note that in the last month, they have begun to ramp up their Tweets considerably.
Not every print pub is gathering followers at these rates. Health magazine, while still at a respectable 1,358,000 followers, has slowed down considerably, perhaps an indication of their audience saturation. In January they had 1,340,000 followers.
From these stats, it does seem as if 2011 is the year that print publications glommed on to Twitter. As someone who has launched both print and Web titles, I have been a reader of Folio for many years. It does seem sometime when reading their articles that I am witnessing the publishing equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But they are trying to bring publishers into the modern era with frequent articles on the move towards tablet apps and the adoption of HTML5.