Who, very provisionally, are the UK's Top 25 Tech PRs on Twitter? Who, in particular, tops the chart? Whether you consider them friends or enemies, these are the people who are behind the marketing of technology products in the UK, and while they are usually invisible, Twitter brings them out into the open: it's where, to some extent, they make their skills visible and put their reputations on the line.
Trying to measure people's reputations and attributes algorithmically is a relatively new field fraught with difficulties, and it's not something I'd want to do myself. However, I already had a Twitter list of almost 300 UK Tech PRs, assembled by the very inexact method of adding PR people when they follow me. I fed the list into the PeerIndex website, and in a few minutes, it cranked out the results using its new Groups feature. This is in limited beta testing, but it will soon be available to everyone. You can therefore expect lists like this to proliferate, and to join sites like LinkedIn and Klout as a widely used tool.
The top 25 accounts are listed below, ranked by their PeerIndex scores. If you made the cut, congratulations. If not, read on for some advice…
1 Sherrilynne Starkie 68 @sherrilynne 2 Rax Lakhani 66 @raxlakhani 3 H&K UK team 61 @hk_london 4 Abigail Harrison 60 @abigailh 5 Stephen Waddington 59 @wadds 6= Andrew Bruce Smith 58 @andismit 7= Jordan Stone 58 @jordanstone 8 Jonathan Hopkins 57 @jopkins 9= Candace Kuss 56 @candacekuss 9= Rich Leigh 56 @goodandbadpr 9= Chris Lewis 56 @largeburrito 12 Drew Benvie 55 @drewb 13= Matt Churchill 54 @geetarchurchy 13= Matthew Gain 54 @matthewgain 13= Craig McGill 54 @craigmcgill 16= Justin Hayward 53 @justinhayward 16= James Warnette 53 @jwarnette 16= Stuart Bruce 53 @stuartbruce 16= Dan Bowsher 53 @dan_bowsher 16= Jonny Ashton 53 @jonnyashton 21= Steve Lamb 52 @actionlamb 21= Matthew Watson 52 @mpwatson 21= Brian Baglow 52 @flackboy 24= CJTarbett 51 @cjtarbett 24= Steve Walker 51 @spwalker
There are certainly some surprises, and I would not have guessed that Isle of Man-based Sherrilynne Starkie would have topped the list. However, the Top 25 comprises mostly well known tweeps that you'd expect to be there or thereabouts.
There are plenty of reasons not to take this list seriously. First, it's extremely likely that a boatload of the UK's top tech PRs don't follow me on Twitter, and are therefore not on my list. (Indeed, there must be some tech PRs who do follow me, but I've simply failed to spot them.) But I didn't start the list to rank people, I started it so that I would have a handy place to read their tweets, which would otherwise get lost in the morass.
Second, in many cases, PeerIndex has not been able to rate people accurately, and recent additions at the bottom of the list don't even score 0. PeerIndex is a UK-based startup and it doesn't yet recognise most of the people on Twitter. Many people can probably increase their ratings by going to PeerIndex, claiming their identity, and getting it to compute a proper score. (That's what the *Invite mark is for.)
Observant folks might have noticed that I tweeted a couple of requests to my followers to do this. Now you know my ulterior motive….
PeerIndex takes a number of factors into account, including your authority (Do people read, respond to and retweet what you say?), your activity (Do you tweet regularly?) and your audience (How many followers do you have, and how far is your reach?). It also lets you link to your accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn, which could also increase your score.
Of course, if you really want to climb the last, three or four good tweets a day would help a lot.
Third, PeerIndex is at an early stage and it's admittedly imperfect. It's taking a Google-style algorithmic approach to ranking people in social networks, and founder Azeem Azhar -- a former colleague on Guardian Online -- appreciates that it has some way to go to achieve Google-style results. (So, frequently, has Google, actually.)
Finally, this is a imperfect measure of someone's presence on Twitter, and it doesn't tell you how good they are at PR. However, I'd be surprised if there wasn't a positive correlation.
Jack Schofield is on Twitter at @jackschofield