The jTwitterati were all abuzz Friday about JTA's list 100 Most Influential Jewish Twitterers.
In the Erev Shabbos rush, I didn't have time to mull over the list in it's entirety . . .
The introduction to the list, which purports to be the first to use "multi-faceted" criteria in the attempt to rank the top members of the Tribe on the micro-blogging network, seems rather uneasy about the very service it wishes to rank. After mentioning Nielsen Online's rather dubious report- a statistic that by means of its very method of rating shows how little Old School Media know about Twitter. For the statistic claims that 60% of those who sign up, fail to return to the Twitter site. Not accounting for the fact that only 27% of those who use Twitter access the service through the site . . . the rest using Tweetdeck, text and other applications that use the API (for a full analysis of Nielsen's statement, see Marketing Pilgrim) -
The author brings further 'proof' to Twitter's contested status with series of satirical videos on Twitter (which for all I can tell are equally likely to be good natured jabs made Twitter users as themselves!).
After laying out their 'system' for judging the top jTwitterati - a combination of number of followers, and the "influence" and "clout" rankings from Twitalyzer which for the life of me I don't fully understand - they enumerate their list.
And there, any semblance of credibility ends.
Before we delve further, let me state very clearly that I do not wish to take away the honor bestowed upon those who received it. I have no beef with many of those mentioned - some of them, such as @Kvetchingeditor, @Jewishtweets and @ylove are friends - and I am sure many of the others are mentioned are worthy as well.
I do, however, find the JTA's list to be so self-righteous list that it laughs in the face of any true scientific study or earnest attempt at compiling a who's who of the jTwitterati.
The list itself seems to be entirely half hazard in it's composition:
While regulars such as Gruven Reuven, who has 581 followers, a 1.7 influence and 3.0% Clout on Twitalyzer (whatever that means, it's higher then the 1.5 influence and 1.8% clout with 260 followers of number 25 on JTA's list), and Elipongo (who has a whopping 2,248 followers), where left to fend for themselves - even those who were listed, laughed at the top 100's integrity, saying:
When it comes to their top 25 Jewish Organizations the ludicrous picking and choosing continues . . .
Mideastyouth.com, an organization that JTA itself describes as " " is on a list purporting to be of Influential Jewish Organizations.
While SixthandI (#24) and NJDC (#10) are on the list, Askmoses, an account with more followers then either of them (albeit with a clout less by .1% then that of SixthandI) is left off.
One friend of mine pointed out the suspicious lack of Lubavitchers on the list (as well as the apparent presence of all of JTA's advertisers).
There is one exception to the Chabad void - the presence of @chabadorgnews.
Before we continue, in terms of full disclosure I must admit that I am involved with, but do not express the opinion of, the @Lubavitch Twitter.
@Lubavitch was started over a month before @chabadorgnews (Which in the short existence of the service is not as trivial a period of time as it sounds). After the tragic attacks in Mumbai, an event that can serve as a tentative epoch in twitter's meteoric rise to fame, The New York Times mentioned its use.
While Chabadorgnew's 'influence' is tied at .3 like @Lubavitch, the clout of @Lubavitch is greater (with a 'Generosity' - something for whatever reason not accounted for in JTA's list- of 23.5% to Chabadorgnew's 0). Until the list, @Lubavitch's list of followers was greater as well.
In short, for all that I can tell, JTA's list is not worth much more then any other random grouping of new people to follow on an average #followfriday - a cute way to branch out to others, but bearing little objective significance.
Perhaps all of this is only a side effect of an aging media entity struggling to adapt to the rigors of Web 2.0 'social' media and beyond . . . While JTA does make valiant efforts to remain relevant and competitive in an era that has several times over passed the eponymous Telegraph of its title,
only a month ago JTA struck out at social media saying, in a fund-raising email,
Without a strong JTA, the storytelling will be left to bloggers, twitterers, and non-professionals. Is this the best way for our future Jewish stories to be told and recorded?True, efforts were made to back-peddle and apologize for the swipe, but at the very least it is clear that JTA is an organization that is not fully aware of the workings of New Media. Let's hope that future lists are made of stronger stuff.