If you had to guess who occupied the top 10 most followed list on Twitter, who would you pick? Would it be a few musicians, a couple of politicians, a news service and some big brands like Apple and Nike?
Well firstly, Apple and Nike don’t even make the top 100. No news service appears until number 21 (CNN). And there’s only one politician in the top 10…or top 70 for that matter – President Barry O. Twitter, it seems, is the preserve of pop musicians. The top 10 is as follows:
In fact, 46 out of the top 100 are musicians; nearly all American and respresenting the pop genre.
The popularity of these particular artists on Twitter led me to wonder what comprised the demographic makeup of Twitter users. Were there more females than males? No, actually. In 2014 24 per cent of American male online adults used Twitter compared to 21 per cent of equivalent females, according to the Pew Research Centre. However, in 2013 18 per cent of females used Twitter compared to 17 per cent of males. This is a statistically significant increase in male usership and it will be interesting to see if it has any bearing on who occupies the most followed list in the future.
Twitter provides a potent platform for these celebrities to continually build on their personal brand. It allows them to communicate directly with their fans, as well as provide the public with a snapshot of their lives, thoughts and interactions with other celebrities. Twitter’s ability to amplify the individual is borne out by its most followed list being predominantly filled with people rather than companies. Conversely, a celebrity’s personal brand can command a hefty following on Twitter with very little exertion. Beyonce has 14,085,904 followers and has only tweeted 8 times. 8!
If anyone else is dismayed at the state of the world after seeing all of the Kardashian sisters present in the top 100 most followed list, we can take heart from the Dalai Lama sneaking in at number 99. And true to the Buddhist ideal of not holding on to things, the Dalai Lama may have 11,560,104 followers but his following count stands at zero. What a man.