Where do Politicians Fall as Twitter Influencers?

By Katie Kindelan Comment

There may not be a Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, or even Kim Kardashian, among them, but politicos aren’t totally out of the Twitter-verse. From the latest lists of the top Twitter influencers to the top Twitter feeds, where do politicians fall?

As seems only fitting, the leader of the free world is also the leader of politicians on Twitter, according to one measure at least.

With his 7,176,450 followers, @BarackObama, or Mr. President to the rest of us, is the most influential politician on Twitter, according to a new survey from Twitalyzer, an analytics firm, conducted for the New York Times.

Labeling President Obama, a “Thought Leader,” Twitalyzer’s anaylsis ranks the most powerful man on earth as the fourth “most followed” overall and the seventh “most influential” on its list of prominent users around the world based on how much users “affect the conversation” on Twitter.

But where there are politicians, even online, there is always debate.

President Obama is nowhere to be seen among the 10 politicians who made the cut on Time magazine’s just released list of 140 best Twitter feeds.

Included on that list are U.S. celebrities, authors, business leaders, comedians, news sources and athletes who Time said are “shaping the conversation” – 140 characters (or less) at a time, but no President Obama.

Among the 10 politicos who did make Time‘s list of 140 are the real deal political tweeters who forgo the typical ghost-tweeting by staff and deliver 140-character zingers themselves.

One would be Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is among his party’s most senior members in the U.S. Senate, and also a prolific, no-holds barred tweeter (@ChuckGrassley) who recently slammed his critics on the popular micro blogging site.

Another is Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) who ranked 56th on the list of 140, mainly for his tweets this winter reporting where and when he would be on the Newark streets, shovel-ready to dig out constituents trapped in an epic snowstorm.

But jumping ahead of Mayor Booker in the number 35 spot is Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, because he, well, knows what he’s doing.

“He’s able to upload pictures, demonstrates actual understanding of hashtags and isn’t afraid to make fun himself,” Time said.

Rounding out Time’s list of political tweeters: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass; and former House speaker and GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.

Rep. Weiner is also one of the very few politicians to hold the distinction, besting even the president, of crossing over to both the Time and Twitalyzer “Most Influential” lists.

Twitalyzer’s Influence Index measures how much influence users have on Twitter on a 0-to-100 index scale that factors in not just number of followers but frequency of tweets and how often tweets are re-tweeted. It also classified Twitter users as five types ranging from Everyday Users to Thought Leaders, a la President Obama.

Rep. Weiner (@RepWeiner), judged a “frequent and funny” tweeter, is labeled by Twitalyzer as a Social Butterfly (influential within his own circle).

Sarah Palin also got double attention, ranking among Time’s 140 and ranking in Twitalyzer’s survey as the most influential of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

Her Influence Index rank of 39 shows she moves conversations on Twitter more than any of the other possible candidates, including one-listers like Newt Gingrich (a Time 140), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (@timpawlenty) a Twitalyzer “Everyday User” (small circle of influence), and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (@govchristie), a “Trendsetter” (early adopter who loves to share new ideas).

Tell us what you think in the comments. Are any of these politicians shaping the conversation on your Twitter feed?