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Which accounts should I follow on Twitter to stay up to date with Big Data?

This is a common question for those who want to learn about Big Data or know more about the field.

Well, it just so happened that I wanted to practise my skills with Python and with Twitter API, I have thus created a way to find and rank the most successful accounts talking about Big Data on Twitter.

Here is the Top 50, based on the activity in July 2015.

Based on your experience, what do you think about the following results?

  1. KPMG                 (Score = 100.0%)
  2. World Economic Forum (Score =  83.8%)
  3. CloudEXPO ®         (Score =  57.6%)
  4. UN Development       (Score =  45.4%)
  5. Popular Science      (Score =  41.4%)
  6. Amazon Web Services  (Score =  31.7%)
  7. HP                   (Score =  30.5%)
  8. edX                  (Score =  26.9%)
  9. Oracle               (Score =  24.0%)
  10. Todrick Hall         (Score =  22.4%)
  11. IBM Cloud            (Score =  21.0%)
  12. Andrus Ansip         (Score =  20.0%)
  13. EMC Corporation      (Score =  19.6%)
  14. MIT Media Lab        (Score =  19.6%)
  15. Abhishek Goyal       (Score =  17.9%)
  16. BigDataEXPO ®       (Score =  16.9%)
  17. O'Reilly Strata      (Score =  15.0%)
  18. Microsoft TechNet UK (Score =  14.9%)
  19. Microsoft Azure      (Score =  14.9%)
  20. Global Pulse         (Score =  14.6%)
  21. EL PAÍS SEMANAL     (Score =  14.5%)
  22. MasterCard Center    (Score =  14.4%)
  23. Forrester Research   (Score =  13.7%)
  24. MS Virtual Academy   (Score =  13.5%)
  25. Microsoft Developer  (Score =  12.9%)
  26. Günther H. Oettinger (Score =  12.3%)
  27. CBS                  (Score =  12.2%)
  28. Stanford Medicine    (Score =  12.1%)
  29. Deloitte             (Score =  11.8%)
  30. Why Microsoft        (Score =  11.8%)
  31. OG Mack Drama        (Score =  11.6%)
  32. L'Atelier            (Score =  11.3%)
  33. Accenture Analytics  (Score =  11.1%)
  34. SAP High Tech        (Score =  10.3%)
  35. Apache - The ASF     (Score =  10.1%)
  36. Intel IT Center      (Score =   9.8%)
  37. HireVue              (Score =   9.8%)
  38. Accenture Digital    (Score =   9.5%)
  39. Pôle emploi actu    (Score =   9.1%)
  40. GE Software          (Score =   9.0%)
  41. Microsoft for Work   (Score =   8.8%)
  42. Cloudera             (Score =   8.3%)
  43. Xerox                (Score =   7.6%)
  44. Couchbase            (Score =   6.2%)
  45. EMLYON B-School      (Score =   5.6%)
  46. Power BI             (Score =   5.5%)
  47. Hortonworks          (Score =   5.5%)
  48. Deloitte US          (Score =   5.5%)
  49. Verizon Enterprise   (Score =   5.3%)
  50. John Pletz           (Score =   5.0%)

Some details about the score, for those of you who want to know more (and I am sure there are many).

  • The score reported in the above board is a normalised score, where the 1st account gets 100%. In fact, the absolute score of the first account is 53% of the theoretical maximum. 
  • The score is calculated by considering only popular tweets containing the hashtag "BigData" and putting together 4 different metrics, including the number of retweets, favourites, tweets and followers.
  • The score in each metric is normalised to the user who performed the best in the considered time interval (July 2015 in this case).

Here are the Top10 for each of the metric considered alone:

Top10 BigData - Number of Retweets

  1. KPMG                 (Score = 100.0%)
  2. UN Development       (Score =  47.6%)
  3. World Economic Forum (Score =  44.1%)
  4. Popular Science      (Score =  39.4%)
  5. Amazon Web Services  (Score =  31.2%)
  6. Andrus Ansip         (Score =  31.2%)
  7. edX                  (Score =  30.6%)
  8. IBM Cloud            (Score =  24.7%)
  9. Abhishek Goyal       (Score =  23.5%)
  10. OG Mack Drama        (Score =  20.0%)

Top10 BigData - Number of Favourites

  1. KPMG                 (Score = 100.0%)
  2. Popular Science      (Score =  26.5%)
  3. Todrick Hall         (Score =  25.4%)
  4. World Economic Forum (Score =  24.7%)
  5. Amazon Web Services  (Score =  23.0%)
  6. edX                  (Score =  19.8%)
  7. UN Development       (Score =  18.4%)
  8. Microsoft Developer  (Score =  12.4%)
  9. Abhishek Goyal       (Score =  12.0%)
  10. Microsoft TechNet UK (Score =  12.0%)

Top10 BigData - Number of Followers

  1. World Economic Forum (Score = 100.0%)
  2. HP                   (Score =  35.2%)
  3. UN Development       (Score =  28.4%)
  4. Popular Science      (Score =  21.1%)
  5. Oracle               (Score =  14.0%)
  6. Microsoft Azure      (Score =  13.6%)
  7. Forrester Research   (Score =  12.3%)
  8. MIT Media Lab        (Score =  11.3%)
  9. Amazon Web Services  (Score =  10.3%)
  10. Deloitte             (Score =   9.5%)

Top10 BigData - Number of Tweets

  1. CloudEXPO ®         (Score = 100.0%)
  2. BigDataEXPO ®       (Score =  18.2%)
  3. EMC Corporation      (Score =  12.1%)
  4. Oracle               (Score =  10.1%)
  5. IBM Cloud            (Score =   9.1%)
  6. World Economic Forum (Score =   9.1%)
  7. O'Reilly Strata      (Score =   7.1%)
  8. KPMG                 (Score =   5.1%)
  9. Cloudera             (Score =   3.0%)
  10. Amazon Web Services  (Score =   3.0%)

A short comment on the final Podium:

  1. As you can see KPMG built its victory on the number of retweets and favourites.
  2. World Economic Forum's 2nd general position is mainly due to its large user base (2.6M followers).
  3. CloudExpo makes it to the podium thanks to its intense activity.

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Comment by OG Mack Drama on March 19, 2017 at 7:55pm

I love revisiting this page from time to time Luca. Because I am on the list. I have come even further in learning and understanding more about Big Data. Thanks to Oracle learning programs. Hope all is well with you and yours!

Comment by Kirk Borne on August 4, 2015 at 2:09pm

@Luca, thank you for your response! And thanks for sharing that amazing Big Data Rap youtube! So maybe Todrick Hall really is a Big Data influencer. :)

Comment by Vincent Granville on August 4, 2015 at 1:24pm

It all depends what you put in your score, and about missing data - accounts such as Kirk Borne, KDNuggets, Analyticbridge that were undetected for a number of reasons -  that are truly at the very top when it comes to big data technology. There are many other lists available out there, the user can just do a Google search. All of them have significant issues. We'll publish our own list soon - a neutral, unbiased list -  I won't even include myself. It will be a blend of several lists, after removing false positives and adding false negatives. Part of the problem is that these lists are generated automatically without checking the output before publication. One day, these list-generating algorithms will be smarter.

Comment by Luca Naso on August 4, 2015 at 8:10am

Hello Kirk,

thank you very much for your feedback, I was hoping to hear from you!

I think that “learning about BigData” does not necessarily mean “to become a data scientist” or a “Hadoop engineer”. It can also mean to know more about possible applications, to know more about its definition, about who is using it, about who has already used it and where, or also whom to contact in case you want to go deeper.

Do you think that you can obtain this kind of information from the #BigData posts of the accounts on the list?

I agree with you that this list is not describing the science behind big data nor the technology. After all that was not the target of this exercise. However, your “Justin Bieber paradox” is quite scaring! I believe that a good improvement would be to introduce some threshold parameters and maybe also modifying the score weights. Although one should not forget that only popular tweets are being used here, and this imposes large limitations.

It looks like Todrick Hall made a rap song using many hot words, like big data, hadoop, spark, python ...(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI7SLOovO5c).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI7SLOovO5c

Comment by Kirk Borne on August 4, 2015 at 6:55am

p.s. to my previous comment:

Todrick Hall is a vocalist, actor, director, choreographer and entertainer with 170,000+ Twitter followers.

I rest my case.

Comment by Kirk Borne on August 4, 2015 at 6:41am

Hello Luca. I believe that you have confused two meaures into one: "the most successful accounts talking about Big Data on Twitter" are not the same as accounts "to learn about Big Data or know more about the field".

Specifically, if you look at @KPMG, you may see that they have a lot of retweets and favorites in general, but they have only mentioned "Big Data" 5 times in the past 30 days, and all of those tweets were to KPMG's own website.  In fact, 4 of the 5 tweets link to the same KPMG webpage. That would hardly qualify them as a place "to learn about Big Data or know more about the field".

Similarly, the World Economic Forum @wef mentioned Big Data only seven times in the past week, in which they posted over 500 tweets on many other subjects. Five of those 7 tweets link to WEF's own webpages. Again, I would argue that this hardly qualifes them as a place "to learn about Big Data or know more about the field".

I guess if @JustinBieber were to mention Big Data just once, then his huge numbers of followers, tweets, favorites, and retweets would qualify his account to be "the most successful account talking about Big Data on Twitter", but it would not be the best account "to learn about Big Data or know more about the field". 

I think you should reconsider what constitutes a good measure. For example, consider this:

http://resources.onalytica.com/big-data-top100-influencers-brands/ 

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