Tweet smarts

Dec 31
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The most influential and engaging social media moguls in central Arkansas.

Social media tends to turn into a numbers game for many — how many fans do you have on Facebook? Followers on Twitter? Plus ones? Likes? And for those who are using social media to get the word out about their product or service, being able to track and analyze their success can be helpful. But what determines “success” on social media? Is the number at the top of your page really telling the whole story?

MEASURING SUCCESS

One tool that seeks to determine the most influential users in the social-media-sphere is analytics site Klout.com. Users can create a Klout account using a Twitter or Facebook login, and then link up additional social media accounts to Klout for it to measure your online influence on a scale of one to 100.

As anyone who has spent time on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform will attest, it’s not always easy to tell who is the most influential. Less can be more, and most followers prefer quality of posts over quantity. So Klout purportedly takes into account not only the number of followers a user has, or even how many times they’ve been retweeted, but also more nuanced indicators of quality, like how many spam accounts are following the account and how influential the people who retweet them are.

Although initially launched in 2009, the site is still in its Beta stage, and critics have pointed to some inconsistencies in the algorithms used to generate Klout scores. Still, we (@syncweekly) decided it could be interesting to find who among the central Arkansas social-media-sphere has the highest Klout, especially when it comes to Twitter.

TOP TWEETERS

One of the local accounts we follow with the highest score is Heifer International (@Heifer), with a score of 82 — fair enough, it’s an international non-profit. That’s only two points behind President Bill Clinton (@ClintonTweet), and one behind Kris Allen (@KrisAllen).

But unless you are a very large organization, a celebrity or a news source, it seems almost impossible to garner a score that high. The norm tends to fall in the 20-60 range, with some of the area’s most popular tweeters showing in the upper 60s.

Take Joel DiPippa (@Joel_DiPippa), one of our past Q&A features whose Twitter bio reads, “Lawyer. Cocktalian. Cook.” He tweets about topics relevant to his blog, Southern Ash, like food, drinks, cigars and fashion, and also engages in constant conversation with his followers about the goings-on in Little Rock.

Other entertaining and informative local Twitter stars include Amy Bradley-Hole (@amybhole), whose Twitter bio warns that if you can’t find her, it’s because she’s “joined a band of gypsies with fancy wagons”; Kerri Jackson-Case (@kerrijack), whose blog Damn You Little Rock takes readers comically through her life in the capital city; and web designer/animal rights supporter Don Gaines (@donaldG), just to name a few.

There are even a few Twitter power-couples in the area, like “luchador wannabe” Bryan Jones (@bryanjones) and his wife, the “actor, writer, dreamer” Sarabeth (@sarabethjones).

All of these folks currently have Klout scores in the 60s. And don’t go thinking that’s barely passing — that’s a high score in the realm of Klout. Our considerably famous locals, like Cody Belew (@CodyBelew), Clint Stoerner (@ClintStoerner) and Bret Bielema (@Bret Bielema) are right there with them.

WHY IT MATTERS

Aaron Reddin, maybe better known as the man behind The Van, is also able to boast a Klout score in the 60s. The Van is a part of Reddin’s organization The One, Inc., a non-profit with a mission to locate and serve the homeless. He’s found Twitter a valuable tool in living out that mission.

“Man, Twitter has been incredible for us. Twitter got me on Dr. Phil a few years ago.”

What?

The story goes something like this: A reporter for AOL News was looking for an advocate for the homeless to use as a source for a story. He sent out a tweet, one of his followers knew about Aaron, and the rest happened as you would imagine: “Someone tweeted me, I tweeted him, and he was like, ‘can we talk,’” Reddin recalled.

After AOL posted the story, Reddin received a call from Dr. Phil’s studios.

“It kind of blew up — I got an email from Dr. Phil on a Saturday, and they flew me up there on Monday.”

It’s the kind of publicity that most small non-profits can only dream of. Reddin attributes that success, and the success of his social media efforts, to being personable in his interactions. Although he has an account set up specifically for The Van (@ItsTheVan), he sees more interaction with his original, personal account (@HomelessHeretic), he said. Not surprisingly, it’s the posts that are most personal, the “warm and fuzzy” parts of what he does that see the most engagement from people on Twitter.

“I can post about fundraising and people aren’t gonna respond as much. If I share a success story, or a specific interaction with someone, something warm and fuzzy, those go well,” he said. “It’s all about content.” 

Also up there in score is Keith Crawford (@tsudo), one of the original organizers of LRTweetup, a meetup for locals on Twitter. He pointed out that the value of being on Twitter is in finding a community. “Whether you’re interested in news, entertainment, friends or some obscure subject, you’ll find people with common interests,” said Crawford. 

Not all social media platforms are created equally — and therefore should not be used for the same purpose. “Facebook is for connecting with people you know. Twitter is for connecting with people you’d like to know,” he said. “It has allowed me to connect with a wide variety of amazing people in central Arkansas.”

On Facebook, there’s a mutual connection in becoming somebody’s friend; both parties are opening the door to let the other in on their photos and statuses. But on Twitter? A follow is a one-way street, and you can curate your Twitter feed to your tastes.

And that’s what central Arkansas’ most popular tweeters have been doing to build their loyal followings — like Reddin, they keep it personal and conversational, and like Crawford, they use it to find people with common interests and goals.

TO KLOUT OR NOT TO KLOUT?

Now, after all of this talk about personality and community, it doesn’t seem so easy — or necessary — to put users into a box with a number labeled on it. 40? 60? 15? What does it matter, if you’re finding a use that fits your needs on a social media platform?

Crawford doesn’t hesitate in dismissing Klout as a way of measuring who among his Twitterverse is the most influential. He’s compared the feature of ranking to a “Jr. High popularity contest,” rather than any real indicator of influence. 

“I know some users with Klout scores in the 70s that are merely loud and I know users with scores in the 30s that speak softly and carry a big stick,” he said. 

But nevertheless, there’s got to be something to this measuring-online-influence thing, as far as it being a general indicator of who has the most pull among your followers. The central Arkansans previously listed have a range of 500-5,000 followers, which is a lot, though it might not seem so impressive compared to Kim Kardashian’s 16 million — but hey, who’s counting?


50 OVER 50

No, we’re not talking age here. These are the Arkansans we follow with the highest Klout scores, all over 50. On Klout, you’re just shown the scores of those you follow, so we know we’re missing some good ones here. Tweet us (@syncweekly) and let us know the feeds you follow in central Arkansas with the most influence in your Twitter community.

84 @ClintonTweet (The Clinton Foundation)

83 @KrisAllen (Kris Allen)

82 @ Heifer (Heifer International)

68 @tobifairley (Tobi Fairley)

68 @CodyBelew (Cody Belew)

67 @cottonr (Cotton Rohrsheib)

67 @Joel_DiPippa (Joel DiPippa)

67 @kyranpittman (Kyran Pittman)

66 @arlton (Arlton Lowry)

66 @bryanjones (Bryan Jones )

66 @KathyWyrick (Kathy Wyrick)

65 @ArkansasBlog (Max Brantley)

65 @amybhole (Amy Bradley-Hole)

64 @gabecouch (Gabe Couch)

63 @donaldG (Don Gaines)

63 @ArkansasOutside (Arkansas Outside)

63 @AshAhrens (Ashli Ahrens)

63 @iheartheals (Juli Wax)

63 @JeffHankins (Jeff Hankins)

63 @MSDunbar (Marcia S. Dunbar)

62 @tsudo (Keith Crawford)

62 @kerrijack (Kerri Jackson Case)

62 @HomelessHeretic (Aaron Reddin)

62 @Clint Stoerner (Clint Stoerner)

62 @AKValley (Anthony Valley)

62 @kdreep (KD Reep)

61 @ghidotti (Natalie Ghidotti)

60 @WallyLikeItIs (Wally Hall)

60 @Gabe_Holmstrom (Gabe Holmstrom)

60 @thelukeirvin (Luke Irvin)

60 @Jessi_Davis (Jessi Hardy)

60 @kortomomolu (Korto Momolu)

59 @sarabethjones (Sarabeth Jones)

58 @AdenaJ (Adena J. White)

58 @PatBradley22 (Pat Bradley)

57 @OxfordAmerican (Oxford American)

57 @GovBeebeMedia (Staff of Governor Mike Beebe)

57 @EverydayAllDay (Tre’ Day)

56 @hotdog_mike (Hot Dog Mike)

55 @MSteenburgen (Mary Steenburgen)

52 @UALRathletics (UALR Athletics)

52 @ARTravs (Arkansas Travelers)

52 @JBrown935 (J. Brown)

51 @AngryCzeck (The Angry Czeck)

51 @ucabears (University of Central Arkansas)

51 @JLRIII (Skip Rutherford)

51 @BrownSugarLR (Brown Sugar Bakeshop)

50 @erniebufflo (Sarah Orsborn)

50 @RiverMarket (The Rivermarket)

50 @ARGameandFish (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)

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