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The distribution of Twitter follower counts

My Twitter account @revodavid has, of this writing, 8828 followers. But is that below or above average amongst active Twitter accounts? Since Twitter doesn't publish statistics of follower counts, I've really had little idea. Until now, that is, because Jon Bruner has done some independent research to estimate the distribution of number of followers amongst active Twitter users.  Bruner used R to take a random sample of 400,000 active Twitter handles (publicly-viewable accounts that have posted at least once in the last 30 days), and used R's ggplot2 package to plot a histogram of the number of followers for these accounts. The resulting plot should be pretty close to the empirical distribution of follower counts: It's a very long-tailed distribution. Note the horizontal scale of that chart: fewer than 2% of Twitter active users have more than 2000 followers. Bruner provides many more details of his analysis at the link below, including a percentile chart of the followers distribution. Half of active twitter users have 61 followers or fewer, and as for me with 8848 followers: I fall somewhere between the 99 and 99.9% percentile. I'd love to get my hands on the data for further analysis (and hopefully the R code for the analysis will be posted to GitHub sometime soon). O'Reilly Radar: Tweets loud and quiet

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid