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Newspapers on Twitter – how the Guardian, FT and Times are winning

July 6, 2009 12 Comments

National newspapers have a total of 1,076,512 followers across their 131 official Twitter accounts - with the Guardian, Times and FT the only three papers represented in the top 10.

The Guardian's the clear winner, as @GuardianTech's place on Twitter's Suggested User List means it has 831,935 followers - 77% of the total. @GuardianNews is 2nd with 25,992, @TimesFashion 3rd with 24,762 and @FinancialTimes 4th with 19,923.

Complete list of national newspaper Twitter accounts

The figures are for official newspaper Twitter account followers (ie not named journalists). You can see the full table here.

Other findings

  • Glorified RSS Out of 121 131 accounts, just 16 17 19 24 do something other than running as a glorified RSS feed. The other 107 do no retweeting, no replying to other tweets etc. (The 24 are the ones with a blue background in their URL and a yes in the last column).
  • No following. They don't do much following. Leaving GuardianTech out of it, there are 244,577 followers of these accounts, but they follow just 64,069. Are newspapers bringing their no-linking-out approach to Twitter? Or is it just because they're pumping RSS feeds straight to Twitter, and therefore see no reason to engage with the community?
  • Rapid drop-off There are only 6 Twitter accounts with more than 10,000 followers. I suspect many of these accounts are invisible to most people as the newspapers aren't engaging much - no RTing of other people's tweets means those other people don't have an obvious way to realise the newspaper accounts exist.
  • Sun and Mirror are laggards The Sun and Mirror have a lot of work to do - they have few accounts with any followers. And they don't promote their Twitter accounts on their sites. The Mail only seems to have one account but it is the 20th largest in terms of followers.

More on newspaper Twitter accounts

Some papers publish lists of their Twitter accounts:

Other useful site are:

  • Newspaper people on Twitter from mediaUK
  • Newspaper titles on Twitter (inc local) from mediaUK
  • Twitian - a list of people at the Guardian who use Twitter (and their latest tweets), created by Paul Carvill.

mediaUK is cleverer than me as their pages update automatically via the Twitter API. If someone can tell me how to do that, I'll make my spreadsheet update (data was correct as of 5 July). No doubt it will involve Yahoo Pipes or somesuch.

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