Choudhary, the chair of the electrical engineering and computer science department and his team analyzed the biggest trends on Twitter last year. Choudhary developed a website that can track the most influential people on Twitter: http://pulseofthetweeters.com.
Pulseofthetweeters.com uses data mining, social network analysis and sentiment analysis to determine top influencers on Twitter. To qualify as a top influencer on a topic, the user must actively tweet about the topic and have a following that also tweets about the same topic. If you are a top influencer on Twitter, you can hold a lot of power in the Twitter universe, you help determine what other people tweet about.
According to Twitter, the Gulf oil spill was the hottest topic on Twitter in 2010, but Choudhary also found that celebrity tweeters were influential on other big news stories of the year. Adam Lambert was the most influential tweeter on the topic of Haiti because he was passionate about sending tweets to get aid to Haiti and he was organizing charity events to raise money for relief.
Also, Conon O'Brien was the most influential tweeter on the topic of the Chilean Mine Rescue because he was tweeting jokes about the situation and those jokes influenced a lot of other tweeters. Same with comedian Stephan Cobert, who he was the top influencer on the topic of Brett Favre because of popular jokes he made on Twitter about the scandle surrounding Favre.
The website can also measure whether people are sending positive or negative tweets on a particular topic. Mel Gibson was tweeted about a lot on 2010 and 65 percent of those tweets were negative. Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber were also tweeted about a lot, too, but 75 percent of those tweets were positive.
Justin Bieber was the most influential tweeter on the topic of the TV show "CSI". It may seem like a strange topic for Bieber, but he guest starred on the show in 2010 and his tweets mentioning CSI were influential.
E! News was consistently the top- or second-ranked influencer on the topic of award shows such as the Grammys, the American Music Awards and MTV award shows in 2010. There was not a single top influencer for popular sitcoms and other TV shows.
Choudhary says there are ways people and companies make their tweets more influential in 2011. It helps if you have creditability on the topic you are tweeting about. News organizations like NPR and the New York Times are often top influencers on twitter because people trust their tweets. Creditability, an active following and humor or passion seems to be part of the equation.