20 people in mobile to follow on Twitter

A friend of mine, Dustin Luther (@tyr) has created an interesting algorithm that he uses to determine the “most influential” people in a particular subject area on Twitter. You seed the algorithm with 10 Twitter usernames who are in the subject area, and then it analyzes their Twitter profiles and determines who is most followed amongst their peers. Since the seeding process is rather arbitrary, the results are in no means scientific or conclusive, but they are very interesting.

I recently ran the algorithm using 10 names from the mobile industry and here are the top 20 names that were returned from the algorithm. If nothing else, these are 20 good people to follow if you are in the mobile industry and use Twitter:

  1. Rudy De Waele – @mtrends
  2. Paul Golding – @pgolding
  3. Heike Scholz – @mobilezeitgeist
  4. Russell Buckley – @russellbuckley
  5. Ajit Jaokar – @AjitJaokar
  6. Mike Butcher – @mikebutcher
  7. Peggy Anne – @peggyanne
  8. Helen Keegan – @technokitten
  9. Andrew Grill – @AndrewGrill
  10. Graham Brown – @grahamdbrown
  11. Kei Shimada – @kei_shimada
  12. Lisa Whelan – @lisawhelan
  13. Tomi Ahonen – @tomiahonen
  14. Ilicco Elia – @ilicco
  15. James Parton – @jamesparton
  16. Robert Scoble – @Scobleizer
  17. Tor Bjorn Minde – @EricssonLabs
  18. Andreas Constatinou – @andreascon
  19. Caroline Lewko – @CarolineWIP
  20. Juha Christensen – @JuhaC

The most interesting takeaway from the list for me is its distinctly international flavor – particularly European. While some of this could be due to how the algorithm was seeded, I believe it reflects the fact that many of the thought leaders in mobile are located outside the U.S.

I’ll try to run the algorithm again in a few months and update the list. In the meantime, I’d be interested in the following:

  • Are you surprised by who is (or is not) on the list
  • Is there anyone not on the list who is a must follow in mobile?
  • What is your reaction or key takeaway from the list?

Feel free to  let me know in the comments.

43 Responses to 20 people in mobile to follow on Twitter

  1. Andrew Grill September 16, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Gregg and Dustin, thanks for including me!

    Nice to see so many mobile friends on this list.

    More mobile and social news and views at http://londoncalling.co

    Andrew Grill
    @andrewgrill
    London

    • Gregg Borodaty September 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

      Andrew,

      No problem. It was a fun exercise, and thanks to some recommendations from people like @mutlu82 on the WeFollow list, I’m sure that the next time I run Dustin’s algorithm the list will be even better!

      Gregg

  2. Tomi Ahonen September 18, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    Hi Gregg. Thank you for the great list and its an honor to be included – and all on the list are definitely people I follow and trust very deeply..

    About my name – Its nice to see the Tomia, a cool way of mis-spelling that I have not previously experienced, but someone might try to find me as Mr Honen haha rather than Mr Ahonen. Would you mind correcting your 13th entry to Tomi Ahonen ? Thanks! Tomi ‘Tomia’ Ahonen haha.. :-)

    • Gregg Borodaty September 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

      Tomi,

      My sincerest apologies, and thanks for pointing it out. I suppose it shows how much of a relative newbie I am in the mobile world :)

      I’ve made the changes and updated the post.

      Gregg

  3. Heike Scholz September 18, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I feel deeply honored to be in your list. Great to be in such a good company.

    • Gregg Borodaty September 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

      Heike,

      It is actually my pleasure to include you on the list. You may be very interested to read the reply I provided Rudy to see that the list is generated quantitatively, not subjectively, so as my friend Dustin points out in his post, the list is really determined by your peers on mobile.

      Gregg

  4. Rudy De Waele September 18, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Thanks Greg for setting this up! It’s a GREAT and very relevant list :) Most important people in mobile are here but there’s many more good twitterers on mobile.

    Really interested in the parameters you use and how this list will evolve over time.

    Since mobile is everywhere now, it would be nice to add other parameters, such as mobile + marketing, mobile + gaming, mobile + apps, etc…

    Good luck with your mobile startup!

    Rudy

    • Gregg Borodaty September 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      No problem Rudy, I must admit that I had a bit of fun doing it, and it was very eye-opening.

      As for the algorithm, check out this post by my friend Dustin Luther (@tyr) – http://4realz.net/2009/09/50-most-influential-real-estate-people-on-twitterter/. He created the algorithm and used it for real estate, an industry he is deeply involved in. The bottom of the post explains the methodology. What you may find interesting about the algorithm is that it is very quantitative, not qualitative or subjective, in how the list is determined. Luckily, he has automated the algorithm now, so I didn’t have to spend nearly as much time as he did using Excel, thank goodness!

      Lists for more specific areas in mobile could definitely be generated, I would just need some assistance choosing the right Twitter names to seed the algorithm. If you are interested, DM me on Twitter, and I’d be more than happy to see if we can create a couple more specific lists.

  5. Tor Björn Minde September 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi Gregg
    Never thought I would end-up in a list like this, with all this great and influential people in mobile. This is almost my private list “most popular” that I follow. I miss a couple of US-based ones like @MobileBehavior, @d4m, @little_springs, and @Ew4n that are worth following more closely.

    Thanks for including me.
    /Tor Bjorn

    • Gregg Borodaty September 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

      Tor,

      You may be interested in the reply I provided Rudy that explains how this list was generated. I wish I could take all the credit for creating the list, but it was actually Dustin’s algorithm that made the “magic” happen – I just provided the seed list of names.

      Thanks as well for providing the additional names. I wasn’t following these and have added them to my follower list.

      Gregg

  6. Lisa Whelan September 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Thanks, Gregg and Dustin! It’s an honor to be included.

  7. James Pearce September 19, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    As well as bloggers (who of course are very important!), consider the brilliant people who are actually building the mobile future ;-)

    If you want to stay in touch with mobile development and design, consider practitioners such as @bryanrieger @barbaraballard @fling @miker @davidkaneda @ppk @twhume @brianleroux etc etc – and even that’s highly non-exhaustive.

    • Gregg Borodaty September 19, 2010 at 9:13 am #

      James – excellent observation, bloggers are also very important, if not more so in my opinion. Bear in mind that this list is specifically centered around Twitter. It would be interesting if there was a way to compile a similar quantitative blogger list. Since traffic numbers and subscribers aren’t always public domain info, it’s a more subjective task.

      Also, thanks for the list of additional Twitter names..

  8. Paul Golding September 19, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    Umm – “thanks”" – not sure how I got in the list – would like to see the algorithm.

    @JamesPearce – I build, design and hack things – have done for past 21 years in mobile, from chips to huge IT systems :)

  9. Paul Golding September 19, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    I jumped the gun – didn’t see you posting of the link to the guy who developed the “algorithm.”

    It is an interesting idea. Obviously, it is better to talk about the most “connected” people on Twitter, according to some measure of “Twitter valence,” as it were. I’m not so sure we should talk about influence without a clear definition of that term and some possible metrics. We could add re-tweets, which might add better weight. It would also be useful to mash with any short URL click-throughs in links, though not so easy to measure.

    Cool idea though – and my ego feels boosted for a while :)

    • Gregg Borodaty September 19, 2010 at 9:30 am #

      Paul – you are right. The list could be referred to as most “connected”, but at some point the most “connected” can also be considered most influential as Dustin points out in his original post. I especially like it because it is primarily driven by analytics, with the only subjective piece being the starting point. In any case, one needs to be careful not put too much weight into any list. I am certain that you could use a different algorithm (or seed names) and come up with an entirely different list, and using subjective means arrive at another.

      I created this list with Dustin’s help because I wanted to see if I could make Twitter a more useful tool to connect with, share with and learn from other influential (or connected) people in mobile. After using Dustin’s algorithm I wanted to publish it because I was impressed by the credentials of the people on the list and thought others might find it as useful as I did.

      Thanks for the feedback. I hope to run the list in a few months again to see if anything changes. Hopefully I can give your ego another bit of a boost then :)

      Gregg

  10. TektonikShift September 19, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    The results are euro centric.
    Probably a result driven by the 10 seed names.
    Anyway, not a bad list.

    • Gregg Borodaty September 19, 2010 at 9:39 am #

      I was bit surprised as well. And while the results are driven somewhat by the seed names, I believe it is more a reflection of the fact that innovation in mobile has been happening outside the US longer driven by things like geography, infrastructure, and carrier policies & pricing.

      Gregg

  11. Ajit Jaokar September 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Hello Gregg, Nice to be included on this list. kind rgds Ajit

  12. James Pearce September 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Paul, yes, I think you are one of the notable exceptions ;-)

  13. James Parton September 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    Thanks for the inclusion. I’ll have to work doubly hard to ensure I stay on the list when you re run it!

  14. Kei September 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Hi Gregg,

    Many thanks for putting me on such an honorable list with fantastic people. Pity that the list is based on English twitterer’s. There are many more fantastic people tweeting in their own language. Would be cool if you can digg them up too.
    Thanks again :-)

    All the best – Kei

    • Gregg Borodaty September 20, 2010 at 9:24 am #

      Kei,

      Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, every list has its limitations. Would you be so kind to either comment back or DM me on Twitter (@aumg) with some of the names you mention? I’d be interested in learning who they are and following them, even if I might have a hard time reading their non-English tweets :-)

      Gregg

  15. marcus austin September 20, 2010 at 4:26 am #

    Where’s Ewan MacLeod @ew4n, from Mobile Industry Review? (www.mobileindustryreview.com)
    He’s well worth it
    marcus

    • Gregg Borodaty September 20, 2010 at 9:30 am #

      Marcus,

      To keep things simple, I only included the top 20 that Dustin’s algorithm provided. Let’s just say that Ewan wasn’t that far outside the top 20, so I would agree that he is definitely a person worth following in mobile. Thanks for the comment and feedback.

      Gregg

  16. Simone Cicero September 20, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    Hey,
    great and “real” list: quite surprising how an algorythm of any kind can point out a so meaningful result (anyone in the mobile business can tell how it is).

    Only one problem: I’m not in!
    @meedabyte

    PS: great work, keep up!

    • Gregg Borodaty September 20, 2010 at 9:44 am #

      Simone,

      I was also surprised at the high quality of the list, but, as with any list, it has its limitations, so I’m sure that more than a few influential people were left out. Especially, as Kei pointed out below, the non-English twitterers.

      Thanks for the comment and feedback!

      Gregg

  17. Tor Björn Minde September 20, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    Hi again Gregg

    I liked the idea by Rudy on including sub topics. Then you could get lists that are more area specific like mobile + design that James was looking for.

    The algorithm is clearly for finding well connected people. There is an interesting paper here http://an.kaist.ac.kr/~mycha/docs/icwsm2010_cha.pdf that try to figure out popularity, mentions, re-tweets and influence. Make an algorithm out of that.

    /Tor Bjorn

    • Gregg Borodaty September 20, 2010 at 9:51 am #

      Tor,

      Since I am not intimately familiar with the key people in all the mobile sub-topics, I would need some guidance on providing the seed names for the algorithm. If you could provide them in the comments, or better yet, DM me on Twitter (@aumg), I’d be more than happy to run the algorithm and share the results.

      As for a new algorithm or making adjustments, I’ll have to discuss with Dustin (@tyr). He’s the mastermind behind the algorithm, so I don’t know how easy or difficult it would be for him to make a new algorithm, or incorporate the ideas from the paper into his existing one.

      Gregg

  18. Carl Martin September 20, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    There is no doubting this is a great list, a few questionable ones, but there is significant quality here covering a variety of great mobile insight.

    I think the term influence varies from industry to industry, and although many of these people are renowned for tweeting quality or quantity, and are refollowed by their peers, true influence is absorbing what these people say and applying it to your own activity, and then resharing the information with your extended network.

    Great work though :)

    • Gregg Borodaty September 20, 2010 at 11:50 am #

      Carl – You raise a great point. Any list will have omissions (or inclusions) that can be debated, so no one list (not even mine) should be considered the best or only list to rely upon. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of this list given that it was generated through a fairly straight forward algorithm (see link to Dustin’s methodology in the other comments).

      And yes, true influence is absorbing, applying and resharing. I couldn’t agree more!

      Gregg

  19. peggy anne salz September 22, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I am honored to be on the list Greg. The algorithm and methodology are fascinating and I hope you continue to evolve it and apply it to other disciplines/niches. I am passionate about all ‘industries’ that emerge at the intersection of mobile and sectors such as education and healthcare. a list of the top 20 people to follow in mobile education would be awesome! Keep it up :)

    • Gregg Borodaty September 22, 2010 at 10:50 am #

      Peggy – Thanks for the feedback! I’d be happy to look at some other sectors. The hardest part is coming up with the proper names to seed the list. If you could DM me on twitter (@aumg) with some seed names, I’d be happy to share the results!

      Gregg

  20. Paul Golding September 24, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    The interesting consideration here is that this list isn’t a “list according to Gregg Borodaty,” but a list according to “the crowd” (at least on Twitter).

    Again, we can contend with the algorithm — but the concept is sound – i.e. using analytics to let the data do the talking.

  21. Martin Wilson September 24, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    Gregg,

    Good work.

    As Carl suggests: There is no doubt this is a good starting point, yes there are a few questionable inclusions/omissions, but there some very good influencers included.

  22. Jose HC October 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Just came across this post… and it is interesting that a lot of the influencers back then are still influential today… and of course there a few more that have developed since.

    Glad to say that I follow most of them and have for a few years… ;)

    http://twitter.com/mstrat

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