Can one really have an impact discussing education policy in 140 characters or less? That seems to be the question that Michael Petrilli (@MichaelPetrilli) asks over in the most recent edition of Education Next (@educationnext). Following up from his piece on influential bloggers, Petrilli takes a close look at the edu-Tweeters, looking at Klout scores and total followership to determine a Top 25 Education Policy/Media Tweeters and a Top 25 Educator Tweeters.
How did those of us on the soapbox do? Top ed policy/media Tweeter is Diane Ravitch (@dianeravitch), posting a Klout score of 73. She is followed closely by Education Week (@educationweek) at 72, and then the U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) at 65.
And what about dear ol’ Eduflack? Well, I clock in at 23rd on the list, with a Klout score of 53 and total followers of 7,014 (more than Arne Duncan, I might add). Obviously, these numbers are a snapshot from a particular moment in time (noted to be last month). As of this morning, @Eduflack has a Klout score of 57 and 7,146 followers, which would place me 13th on the list, just ahead of the National Education Association StudentsFirst, and Randi Weingarten of the AFT.
Perhaps the more interesting list, though, is Petrilli’s compilation of the top 25 Educator Tweeters. Here, he looks at those honest-to-goodness practitioners in the field who are sharing information, best, practice, and encouragement with other educators. Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) tops the list with more than 20,500 followers and a Klout score even Ravitch would want (75). She’s followed closely by Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) who has a 74 Klout score. An Eduflack fave, Larry Ferlazzo (@larryferlazzo), comes in at number 6.
Particularly intriguing about the educator list is how many followers so many of the educators have. Breaking 5,000 followers seems to be a monumental achievement for many of the policy folks, but it is common place for the majority of the educators. Why is that significant? It means they have the ability to get information out to a wider range of people, and to those who may actually put it to use.
And for those critics? Yes, the Klout score isn’t the only measure of Twitter strength, but it is a pretty damned strong one. And while some may run numbers now, saying that they should have made the list based on today’s Klout scores, we need to remember that this was a snapshot from a particular date in June, reflecting general trends. The NEA’s numbers, for instance, will have spiked this week, due to its annual convention in Chicago. Same is true for those ed tech teachers that were particularly active at last week’s ISTE conference.
Regardless, such lists are useful in better understanding who is using social media and how they might be using it. And Klout helps you see that, explaining the type of Tweeter an individual is. For instance, @Eduflack is a specialist. It means I focus on “a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly engaged audience.” Sounds about right.
So thanks to Education Next and Petrilli for their analysis. Hopefully, folks will visit the two lists and follow the 50 Tweeters highlighted.
But let’s start a little East Coast/West Coast here. Who wants to develop a dueling Twitter list, with different measurements? Anyone?