Cornell University Yahoo! Research Twittersphere Study: Who Tweets What to Whom on Twitter

Twitter Hero by @wpSEOIleane at Basic Blog Tips gave us the heads up about coverage of a Yahoo! Research / Cornell University Twitter Study on the Lexington Examiner.

Freelance Writer Donna Anderson   (@SheWritesALot) provided the best write-up on that Twitter Influencer Study I’ve seen to date. (I searched deep into the results looking for any others worth reading and came up empty.)

She was the only writer to specifically mention the bloggers covered in the study including many of our closest collaborators including (in the order they were mentioned in the article):

  1. @Ileane ~ Blogging Tips
  2. @virtuosoblogger ~ Blogging Resources
  3. @dragonblogger ~ Tech Blogger (Requested not to be “branded a CommentLuv blog” in the comments of this post on 11/18/11)
  4. @BlazingMinds  ~ Blogging Tips, Music and Film Reviews, Twitter Tips
  5. @TycoonBlogger ~ Small Business Social Media blog
  6. @wchingya ~ Social Media blog
  7. @extremejohn ~ Small Business Blogging and Social Media Advice
  8. @GrowMap – that’s us
  9. @Kikolani ~ Social Media Tips
  10. @Element 321 ~ New Media News
  11. @seosmarty ~ My Blog Guest Community
  12. @bbrian017 – Blog Engage Community

Of the 32 bloggers mentioned, the first 12 above are among our closest collaborators. What makes these special is that they are part of the DoFollow CommentLuv community. The last two are blogging communities many of us frequent.

In the study the researchers called us “elite Twitter users”. What I found most interesting about that study is the researchers characterizing those who RT and spread the content of the “elite Twitter users” as “ordinary” or “regular” Twitter users:

“While the 20,000 members of the Twitter Elite are responsible for generating over 50% of all Tweets, theirs are not necessarily the Tweets that are being consumed. The research indicates that almost half of the Tweets that are received and read are generated by a highly respected group of intermediaries made up of over 500,000 regular Twitter users, not Elites.”

That is not what I would call the “intermediary” Twitter users at all!

The researchers seem to have missed the importance of these up-and-coming influencers who will eventually be among what they called the “elite” Twitter users themselves.

In contrast, “ordinary” Twitter users are primarily or exclusively passive consumers of tweets. They do not actively RT or interact much themselves except maybe to some close friends or family.

The researchers also do not seem to realize why bloggers’ content is different than what the other three groups they studied share on Twitter (celebrities, media and organizations).

Maybe they should have asked Donna. Her conclusions – which include some excellent Twitter Strategies to be implemented – are what my British snooker playing friends would call “spot on”.

I encourage everyone to read what she had to say about What Gets Retweeted.

If you want to take your improve what you do on Twitter
check out our Twitter Best Practices.

If you want to collaborate with other bloggers, see the list of blogging
collaborators in our Small Business Advice post about BizSugar.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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