Saturday, February 19, 2011

The most "influential" Libraries on Twitter?

In 2009, I wrote a series of Twitter posts studying library accounts on Twitter (here, here and here) , since then Twitter accounts have become a norm rather then a novelty for organizations including universities and companies.

How does one measure success of such accounts beyond crude follower accounts? Of the many measures of online influence klout is currently one of the leading ones, and recently they released a most influential colleges on Twitter list 

I repeated the test for some library Twitter accounts and below are the top ones I found with Klout scores above 50.

Twitter name Klout
Amplification Network
nypl 67 40k 55 73
librarycongress 63 62k 42 70
britishlibrary 62 51k 42 68
ByLeavesWeLive (Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) Edinburgh) 58 2k 41 67
MorganLibrary 56 2k 37 64
prattlibrary 55 1k 40 63
VPL 55 2k 30 62
KCPubLibrary 54 443 32 59
MancLibraries 54 1k 31 62
JFKLibrary 52 1k 28 62
Somers_Library 52 88 38 62
USCLibraries 52 158 35 62
BPLBoston 51 1k 31 59
columbuslibrary 51 2k 30 57
FolgerLibrary 51 643 32 60
National_Ag_Lib 50 2k 33 57
EPLdotCA (Edmonton Public Library) 50 987 29 57
leedslibraries 50 721 27 57
NLNZ 50 58 28 49 

EDIT : Lilly Hunter in the comments points out that OrkneyLibrary has a Klout score of 57/58 which puts it 5th with a relatively low number of followers of 2.2k, which is pretty impressive.

I came up with this list by running the entries from the following list - The Twitter league of libraries through Klout. I setup this list in 2009, since then the service - Twitter League has being sold and the statistics listed are no longer reliable, but they still provide a fair good sample of library Twitter accounts.

What's a good Klout score? Klout has a very complex system of measurement claiming to use "over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score."

In general I found that while many large established Twitter library accounts had Klout scores between 30-40s, scores 50 and above were fairly rare, and the list above shows the 19 I found.

As a benchmark, my own individual Twitter account currently has a Klout score of 52, but Klout scores change from day to day so by the time you read this, you will find this list slightly outdated.

The list isn't much of a surprise, dominated by large public libraries like New York Public Library (read about their story), Boston Public Library and icons like Library of Congress and British Library etc. Number of followers is important, all on the list have over 1.5k followers and most are in the 2k-4k range.

As such size of user base is important, and public libraries have an advantage here with only one academic library making the list University of South California Libraries (USCLibraries).

That said Klout is not just about number of followers though, otherwise academic library Twitter accounts like OU_Library (3.5K followers), yalelawlibrary (5.1K followers), yalesciencelibrary (2.3k followers) would have made the list . It's clearly not just a matter of number of followers but also whether the twitter account can engage with the user base.

I also did a quick comparison against the Klout scores of top University Twitter accounts and their respective library accounts and as you might expect the later tends to be lower than the former (tending towards 30-40s range).

Standard disclaimer, despite Klout calling themselves the "standard for influence", like any rating or ranking system it pays to be skeptical and take this has a guide or indicator rather than gospel truth of how well your library's twitter account is doing.

Presumably accounts with relatively low followers but with relatively high Klout scores e.g MancLibrariesare doing something right by engaging users (particularly influencial users), getting their tweets spread etc, but this will require some study of the contents itself.

I just noticed that with this post, I have made 101 entries, just few weeks shy of the 2 year mark. I'm also honoured to be placed as one of the ten blogs listed in Blake's LISNews Blogs To Read in 2011 . Hope I can keep this up and produce worthy material that will be useful to the readers of this blog.

Edit : Fixed link to @MancLibraries was pointing to the wrong Twitter profile, apologies.
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