What Can We Learn from the Minneapolis Top 100 Twitterers List?

For those of you not yet on Twitter — and aren’t you feeling so smug you’re not wasting as much time as the rest of us? — you’re likely not aware there’s a site called Twitterholic, which ranks the popularity of Twitter users by number of followers.  Actually, despite what non-Twitter users may think, this social-media “microblogging” tool is proving to be quite useful for many in business, media, and even government, if the list of Minneapolis’ Top 100 Twitterers is any indication.

To better understand who’s doing these rankings, here’s how Twitterholic cutely explains itself:

“A few times a day, we calculate individual statistics for each twittering twit in our database. In other words, WE”R IN UR TWTTR PAGES, READN UR STATZ.  This list is updated daily so you can find out who the most popular twitter users are. To participate, do what you normally do — twitter constantly — if you deserve to be on the list, we’ll find you.”

Twitterholic ranks users across the world, with Barak Obama still leading the pack, CNN now in #3, and Twitter itself down the list further at #9.  But, beyond that global ranking, the two developers who built the site (based in Orlando, FL) devised a way to rank Twitter users by city — I assume, in our case, by finding the word “Minneapolis” or “Mpls” in individuals’ profiles.  Note some people choose to leave that part of their profile blank, while others insert something clever like “here” or “Earth” or “at my desk,” and thus they would not make it into their city ranking. (Note also the Minneapolis ranking of course does not include our friends across the river in St. Paul.)

But what are some things we can learn from the list of the Mill City’s top Twitterers?  First, that there are more than a handful on the list that have been twittering almost from when Twitter first became available, back in early 2007.  The man in first place, Lee Odden, fits that bill, and now has more than 5000 followers.  Lee is a consultant in search engine optimization (SEO), and speaks frequently at conferences all over the country. He obviously knows how to spread the word about his Twitter page, online and off.

Some locally based media outlets made the list, too, with Finance & Commerce ranked a surprising #26, our friends at MinnPost at #36, and the venerable StarTribune at #74.  Media organizations naturally tend to use Twitter to send out links to stories as they publish them. The Strib’s number of updates listed in the rankings, however, boggles the mind: 37,947!  Could our local daily possibly be putting out *that many* links in only 1.5 years?  Note the highest ranked media person on the list is James Lileks, a columnist at the StarTribune; his personal Twitter page is at #6.  Jim is a famous early-adopter of tech toys and tools. 

Others types of folks represented on the list include at least a couple of execs at local big companies: Barry Judge, Best Buy’s CMO (a recent convert), at #7, and Pete Steege, an exec at Seagate’s offices in Shakopee, at #20. Several PR and advertising types are on the list, too — including #11 (@PerfectPorridge), #16 (@tbrunelle), #22 (@MrChristopherL), #27 (@AxiomPR), #85 (@aeklund), #93 (@donmball), among others.  (I’d put myself in that category, too, and was very happy to see myself moving up the rankings at #31 after only a year on Twitter.)  A recruiter I know (@MNheadhunter) is at #29.  And several folks qualifying as Web 2.0 consultants or geeks obviously dot the list as well.  No question that many of these people tweet at least some of the time about their personal lives (I try not to!) — but you may be surprised that most on this list write or post links about business matters quite often, on such topics as how they use technology in their work lives, interesting articles they’ve read (I have a real weakness for this myself), and of course chatting back and forth with their work colleagues or business friends, about all manner of things. 

And how can I not call out that Minnov8’s own Phil Wilson came in at #89 (@Philson).  What’s more, a fun creation of his ranked even ahead of his own page, at #86.  I certainly recommend you follow that one: @comicTwit.  It provides me with many laughs as I scroll through a lot of crap (I mean tweets) from my own followers on Twitter.  Hey, there’s a lot to be said about not taking ourselves too seriously! 

But the most surprising thing of all on this Minneapolis Twitterers list?  Our city’s tech-savvy mayor, R.T. Rybak, comes in at #38!  So, local government has at least one representative.  And our city’s convention bureau, which dubbed itself “Meet Minneapolis” some years ago, is ranked at a very respectable #57.

So, whom do you know on the list, or whose tweets do you like?  By the way, be sure to follow us at www.twitter.com/minnov8!  Hey, we may not be on the Top 100 list yet, but we’re good…  :-)  

UPDATE 12/16/08: So, what about a Top 100 list for St. Paul?  Well, the Twitterholic developers must need to tweak something, because there are only two people on the list I could find.  I will leave the retarded jokes for others… :-) Seriously, @albertmaruggi, our Social Media Breakfast buddy, kinda looks like he owns that town on this list, huh? And the Top 100 for “Twin Cities”?  That list needs serious help, too — only one person shows up there. One change on the Minneapolis list, if you’re reading the comments: Minnov8’s own @timelliott changed his profile to say “Minneapolis” (from “Twin Cities”), and he’s now at #20, pushing everyone below down a notch.  Note he’s been on Twitter for 1.8 years, tied for longevity with Lee Odden, as well as with @swirlspice, @edkohler, and @garrickvanburen.  But @Lileks beats that, at 1.9 years. Longest of all, though?  That would be @alexisthegirl — who’s been on for 2.0 years! Yikes, she must have been an early beta user.


  1. says

    You know, Jason, I’m almost glad to hear R.T. is not wasting time on Twitter all day… :-) Better Jeremy does that! (ha, ha)

    Seriously, R.T. gets it, and we’re lucky to have such an Internet-savvy guy leading our city.


  2. says

    I have 1,098 followers but don’t figure in this list… I think there are other Twin Cities Twitter people unaccounted for here… will post once I figure out the code.

  3. says

    Tim, maybe spending too much time out in CA wine country? more likely, you don’t have “Minneapolis” as the location in your Twitter profile…

    the Twitter list for “Lakeville” is probably not what you aspire to? :-)


  4. says

    So, it seems local Twitterers state their profile location either as “Minneapolis”… “St. Paul”… or “Twin Cities.”

    Maybe somebody should ask these guys to merge them all into one list?


  5. says

    I purposely changed my Twin-Cities-focused twitter account locations from “Twin Cities” to “Minneapolis Saint Paul” just so I’d get picked up in searches for both.

  6. says

    What I like about posts like this Graeme, is finding out about people/Tweeple and blogs that I didn’t know of before.

    I guess I do quite a bit of socializing on/offline and there’s no doubt, the impact of real world networking at conferences on the coasts, Chitown, Vegas and the Minneapple is bound to attract a few Twitter followers. Having a blog helps.

    With my personal account, @leeodden, all I do is socialize and Tweet what I’m interested in. Being useful and social, that’s about it.

    Hopefully I can earn the interest of those that have taken the time to connect. It gets to be a time challenge but like anything social and online, why do it unless it’s personally interesting and allows you to create mutual value?

  7. says

    Good point, Lee. I learned of several local Twitterers just because of this list! A guy can meet so many interesting people without ever leaving his keyboard… :-)

    I’m with you, though — getting out to events and conferences, to meet people face-to-face, still can’t be beat.


  8. says

    Well, slap me silly…#89, or is that #90 now that Tim changed his location? And me feeling all guilty about not posting enough…

    Question: Shouldn’t Twitter reflect both your business and personal life? Isn’t that a more literal interpretation of social. When you go to a cocktail party, do you only talk business or does your “real” life creep in. I’m less and less enamored with “brands” on Twitter, or any social medium, and more a fan of “people from brands”.

  9. says

    Seriously, Bonnie, the link I included is what came up for me for St. Paul on Twitterholic. Ah, the infamous “St. Paul space problem”! I see now what the difference is: some people put a space between St. and Paul, some don’t (specifically, the two guys listed on my link). Note that #1 on my link doesn’t show up on the larger list, but would be #2 there. The Twitterholic developers should be covering for this oddity in their code. Their app is obviously just a little sideline project for them, as are so many other Twitter apps. (Translation: borderline useful.)

  10. says

    Hey Graeme,

    thanks for sending this to me. Like everyone else I checked out my own ranking. I think I’m 87 once I corrected my location. Although, like Tim Elliot and Phil, I also should list ‘Lakeville’ as my location.

    Have you seen Chatcatcher? I know Mike Keliher has, he turned me on to it. Basically it is trackbacks from Twitter. Any time a blog post is mentioned on Twitter, Chatcatcher sees it and posts it as a comment automatically to your blog. @swhitley put it together. He’s super responsive to questions and suggestions. He’s also getting it working with Disqus, and has put together a WordPress plugin for it.

    Check it out. http://chatcatcher.com

    Unrelated but interesting, @swhitley put together an Excel based Twitter client!

    Kudos to my boy Paul @mnheadhunter and Jason Buss. How’d you get 8,000+ followers?

  11. says

    I’m a little disappointed that you don’t mention the University of Minnesota’s rather significant presencse on the Twitter top 100 in Mpls (although this post came out before we had much of an impact). Currently, three U of M’ers are in the top — @UMNews is already #18, I’m at #48, and my co-worker @ryanmathre is #52.

    The U of M is in ur Twitterz, dominating! :)

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