Last month, Twitter announced that it surpassed 200 million monthly active users, in addition to opening a Paris sales office which will add to the social network’s six existing international offices. In a short time since Twitter’s founding in 2006, the San Francisco-based company has become a global phenomenon and mainstream tool among professionals in a variety of industries.
In the land use industry, Twitter has become more than a way for professionals to share news and follow conferences. Transportation consultants, developers, and urban planners are using Twitter as a way to keep current with the latest industry trends, connect with local community organizations and media outlets, learn about potential funding opportunities, and stay connected with other transportation colleagues.
Last year, Urban Land magazine compiled a list of the most influential transportation infrastructure people on Twitter. This ranking, updated for the current year, includes the entity’s name and Twitter handle alongside the account’s rankings in reach, engagement, and influence.
Each person’s Twitalyzer, Klout, and PeerIndex scores, produced by three of the most commonly used ranking websites, have been included as well. The methodology, fine-tuned over the year, is explained in more detail in the paragraphs below the chart.
It should be noted that several Twitter users dropped from the rankings since the list was created in early 2012. While they did not make this year’s list, Twitter accounts such as WNYC’s Transportation Nation, Yonah Freemark, and Kaid Benfield are still valuable sources for transportation professionals to follow.
Following is a list of the top 25 Twitter feeds covering transportation infrastructure:
Table 1: Scores Reflect Social Media Analytics Measured on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
first assembled a list of the top transportation accounts back in January 2012. Since then, the methodology used to create the list has been refined. The current methodology employs several factors, as described below:
“Influence” was the first criterion used, since influential people tend to follow their influencers. Therefore, a person cannot be influential within a specific area or online community—transportation, in this case—if he or she is not followed by other influential people.
A pool of transportation industry thought leaders was initially picked for examination. Each thought leader had to meet specific follower/following requirements before being included in the subject pool. To be included in the subject pool, a thought leader’s Twitter account must be following at least 50 people, but no more than 1,500. In addition, so that those Twitter accounts that follow everyone who follows them could be eliminated, Twitter accounts had to have at least five times more followers than following. These leaders’ main Twitter pages were analyzed with the social analytics tool, Followerwonk, identifying the “shared” accounts between this group of users.
This second group was then collected and measured through different established algorithms to determine popularity and influence. Rankings were then ordered based on their Twitalyzer impact score, a measurement that combines the number of followers, how often the user is retweeted, the frequency with which the user posts updates, the number of references/citations by other users, and how often the user is retweeting other people. Twitalyzer believes this score to the most accurate assessment of a user’s impact and “buzz” on Twitter.