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How Taylor Swift became the most influential person on Twitter (in just 13 tweets)

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Kayleigh Dray
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TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 21: Taylor Swift performs at Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour in Japan presented by Fujifilm instax at Tokyo Dome on November 21, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/TAS18/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift only posted 13 tweets this year, yet she’s still the most powerful person on Twitter. This is why:

As we bring 2018 to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on the year gone by. And, whereas in the “good old days” we’d have focused on book lists and album charts, the age of social media demands something a little… well, a little more tech-savvy from the masses.

Such as, say, a closer look at the most influential celebrities on social media.

Social media monitoring site Brandwatch has released its annual list of the most influential women and men on Twitter, with One Direction’s Liam Payne taking the top spot for men.

Taylor Swift, meanwhile, has taken the top spot for women – but, with an “influencer score” of 98, has beaten Payne’s 97 score to take the top influencer title overall.

Of course, this is even more impressive when you factor in that she’s posted a grand total of just 13 original tweets this year.

“The accounts were ranked according to a selection of criteria that added together to create their influence score,” Brandwatch says of their research.

“This is a measure of how influential an account is over time, based on the level of genuine engagement they are creating. While lots of followers, retweets and replies will help, the more influential the people they engage with, the better the score.”

Swift’s power on social media was demonstrated earlier this year, when she broke her own ‘no politics’ rule and asked people to go out and vote in the midterm elections on 6 November.

“I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives,” she said at the time, insisting that she couldn’t “vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for the dignity of ALL Americans, no matter their skin colour.”

In the same post, Swift also admitted that she voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election – and urged her social media followers to “please, please educate yourselves on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values… [and] register to vote, which is quick and easy to do”.

Not only did Swift’s post rack up the likes, but it also actually had a huge impact on voter turnout. Indeed, according to Kamari Guthrie, the director of communications for vote.org, there were 65,000 registrations in the 24-hour period after Swift’s Instagram post went live. And, of the 5,183 voter registrations in Tennessee this month, at least 2,144 occurred after Swift posted her statement to social media.  

Swift is closely followed on the influencer rankings list by none other than Donald Trump. With 56 million followers, the odious US president has been given an influencer score of 96 – putting him just behind Payne. Justin Bieber (95), Barack Obama (95), Cristiano Ronaldo (95), Niall Horan (95) and Bruno Mars (94) have also been named as Twitter’s “most influential” men.

On average, though, it seems 2018 has proven to be the year of women – on Twitter, at least.

That’s right: according to Brandwatch’s findings, the women on their lists (primarily Democrat-supporting musicians, with an average age of 36.4 – some 10 years younger than the men’s average of 44.7) had a higher influencer score than the men. Think Katy Perry (96), Kim Kardashian West (96), Demi Lovato (96), Ellen Degeneres (95), Selena Gomez (95), and Shakira (95).

With so many powerful women on social media striving to see positive change in the world, it seems 2019 is in very safe hands indeed. 

Images: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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