Mashable's Pete Cashmore tops list of 100 most influential Scottish Tweeters

By Hamish Mackay |

July 16, 2012 | 4 min read

Pete Cashmore, founder of social news blog Mashable has toped the list of 100 most influential Scottish Tweeters.

The list, published by The Herald, places Cashmore, 26, from Aberdeenshire - at the top, followed by US TV host Craig Ferguson and authoress JK Rowling. They all pass the million marks in followers.

Tennis player Andy Murray and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay come next - each of whom has more than 900,000 followers.

The Herald explained its methodology in a news feature on Saturday, pointing out: “Analysis of Twitter accounts across 10 key Scottish sectors has identified the most popular 10 individuals in each.

“The online networking site now has more than 500 million accounts globally, six years after its launch.

“But elsewhere, because the research compares different types of Scottish tweeters – in business, broadcasting, literature, sport, food and drink, comedy, music, acting, fashion, and politics – the findings offer real insight into what is arguably today's most powerful social medium.

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The Herald website explained that it has listed (but not ranked) the top tweeters by number of followers - knowing that is only one measure of popularity.

Other factors taken into account in assessing Twitter influence, it said, include how many other tweeters each of its 100 has, in turn, followed to build their audience: the higher the ratio of followers to following, the more impressive the performance.

“Also important is how many tweets they have each put online: fewer can suggest each word is like gold dust to fans, while more indicates greater interactivity with followers.”

Calum Macdonald, digital editor of HeraldScotland, said: "This survey tells us a lot about how Scots are using Twitter – both as tweeters and as followers. Yes, celebrities dominate certain fields, but there are a lot of surprises in the Top 100, which suggests some individuals are pushing the medium to the maximum.

"Our list is intended to be indicative rather than definitive, but people are already talking about it and we'll definitely be updating it later this year."

The Herald quotes Dr Eamonn O'Neill, a lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University, as saying Twitter could be useful as a journalistic or business tool, but warned that people believe they have access to a top politician or one of their heroes, when they may in fact be following their staff in some cases.

O’Neill said: "Twitter is a social platform for our times. It's fast, efficient and gives the perception of real human contact without actually meeting anyone.

"The fact it seemingly allows the ordinary person in the street to have some sort of tenuous contact with a so-called celebrity seems to satisfy the age-old need for recognition and even human validation at some level.

"The amount of followers can be meaningless and meaningful. Someone with vast followers like Stephen Fry for example can have massive influence, whilst others probably have staff tweeting for them.

"Users can convince themselves they're 'in' on something and actually making contact with their heroes or whoever.

"In reality it's not far removed from being the kind of fan who hung around someone's locked front gates and waved at stars in cars whizzing in and out.

"For journalists, though, it's a stunning tool that allows someone on the ground to digitally publish news faster than an old wire service organisation like Associated Press.

"In that sense, Twitter can actually matter enormously and is quite breathtaking in its power to reach and motivate audiences."

The Herald also quotes Craig McGill, a social media consultant and managing director of Contently Managed, as saying there are now more than 53,000 people in Scotland whom are tweeting.

McGill points out that he reckons Scots have taken to Twitter because ...”it’s a quick way of getting news or updates from their friends, and spotting traffic jams or other hassles.”

He also claims it has been invaluable to new Scottish businesses that don’t have the luxury of a PR budget.


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