In February last year I published a list of the 30 technology writers that were followed by their peers in the USA. That piece of analysis proved to be very popular so I thought it was about time to take another look and see what, if anything, has changed.
Firstly, a quick reminder of the methodology: the team at Apollo Research identified 3,200 US based technology writers, and researched who they followed on Twitter. There is an enormous amount of follower inertia on Twitter (i.e. people don’t ‘unfollow’ nearly as readily as they follow), so we use a set of measurements that allow us to dial out this inertia and assess the current popularity of a writer.
It’s worth highlighting that each of the 3,200 tech writers in the sample are free to follow anyone they want, and they do. Between them they follow 2.2 million different twitter accounts. The 30 in the list below are the technology writers that, collectively, they have chosen to follow more than others. Others may disagree, but my view is that this is a ringing endorsement for these writers from their own profession.
We’ve put together a report that looks at the top 100 so if you want to take a look at that then download it here for free.
Delving into the list, there’s been no change at the top, with the excellent Kara Swisher attracting 13.7 per cent of US based tech writers in this sample. You’ll see that Kara has a red ‘3’ against her name. This is an index score (between 1 and 10) that refers to the proportion of her overall followers that are technology writers. Kara has 1.25 million followers whereas Mike Isaac has 82.7k so the ratio of tech writers to followers is much lower for Kara than it is for Mike.
Below Kara, much has changed with ten new entries and plenty of movement in the list.
The biggest mover is Mike Isaac who has moved from 20th on last year’s list to second this year. Others who’ve moved up the list include Farhad Manjoo, Christopher Mims and Sarah Lacy.
Walt Mossberg retired this year, writing his last article for Recode on 25th May. I’ve included him on this list because he his still active on Twitter and has a big following amongst tech writers.
There are also ten new additions to the list, the highest of which is Jenna Wortham at the New York Times. Jenna has led a charge of women into the top 30. Last year there were 7, this year the figure has nearly doubled to 13, with seven of the new additions being female.
Brian Krebs warrants a special mention. He has been writing about cyber security matters for many years, but last year he was the victim of the massive Mirai botnet attack. His experience and subsequent investigation of this attack catapulted him onto centre stage and attracted many more followers from his technology writing peers.
The New York Times is well represented in this list with four writers, three of whom are in the top ten. In fact, The New York Times has 11 in the top 100. Recode, WSJ and Axios also have more than one writer listed in the top 30. Surprisingly, Nicholas Thompson is the only writer from Wired and there are none from TechCrunch in the top 30 (although there are 3 in the top 100).
The top 100 writers
Apollo Research has put together a free report that includes the top 30 here but also extends it to the top 100. In addition we take a brief look at the news sources that US tech writers follow the most, as well as the top 10 industry analysts, non-tech writers, comedians and the politicians they follow.
It’s an interesting read for any of you involved in technology PR or who just interested in who or what technology writers follow. You can download it here.