"Celebrities who have an army of followers on Twitter do not actually hold any influence on the micro-blogging website, scientists have discovered."
This was the headline on a story posted to the telegraph.co.uk this past Saturday, September 25th.
Now my initial reaction was one of feigned disbelief...
Seriously people... did we really need a study and scientists and algorithms tell us this?
The telegraph.co.uk story continues...
"Researchers (at Northwestern University) found that while many celebrities might have millions of people following their lives on the web, online influence in fact came from less known "experts".
Their conclusions suggest that the opinions of celebrities who have turned Twitter into an international phenomenon with millions of "followers" are actually ignored by users."
The story goes on to say how scientists "sifted through the tens of millions of "tweets" sent each day on the microblogging website to pinpoint who the most influential people were and how they shaped "trending" topics or issues that are popular at any given time."
And they (the scientists) concluded that most "influential" users on Twitter were actually people with much lower profiles but who were experts in their own fields rather than celebrities with the most followers.
Northwestern professor Alok Choudhary and graduate student Ramanathan Narayanan say that if a celebrity tweets about his or her area of expertise, he or she may actually have some influence in that case.
Haven't folks like Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Beth Harte, Drew McLellan, Tom Martin and many more been telling us this for quite some time? To tweet, blog, post, talk, etc about what you know?
Why would anyone care what Ashton Kutcher thinks about anything other than making movies and being married to Demi Moore? Oh wait, I just described the entire readership of People Magazine.
I'm not sure what is more disconcerting to be honest with you.
The fact that people do in fact care what celebs tweet bout or the fact that a major university devoted X amount of dollars and time to conduct this study!
Calgon take me away... (if you're over 35, you'll get the reference and remember the tagline)