Do you tweet? – re-revisited

Photo: Findlay Wilde
Photo: Findlay Wilde

In April 2013 and October 2013 I listed the Twitter followings of a range of wildlife organisations in the UK.  I thought it would be fun to revisit that list now.

Here are the 17 organisations listed with, in brackets; their number of Twitter followers (in thousands), their previous ranking in October 2013’s list and the change in number of Twitter followers.


  1. @national trust  (264; 1st; +39%)
  2. @natures_voice  (120; 2nd; +40%)
  3. @wwf_uk (83; 4th; +131%)
  4. @woodlandtrust  (64; 3rd; +56%)
  5. @wildlifetrusts (40; 6th; +100%)
  6. @Birdlife_news (32; 5th; +39%)
  7. @_BTO_ (31; 7th; +55%)
  8. @savebutterflies (24: 9th; +71%)
  9. @_BCT_ (21; 10th; +62%)
  10. @WWTworldwide (19; 8th; +27%)
  11. @buzz_dont_tweet (18; 12th; +50%)
  12. @markavery (16; 13th; +45%)
  13. @mcsuk (15; 11th; +25%)
  14. @loveplants (13; 15th; +63%)
  15. @worldlandtrust (12; 14th; +9%)
  16. @BASCnews (9: 16th; +50%)
  17. @gameandwildlife (4; 17th; +33%)

The overall rankings may not mean very much – but even if they do , they haven’t changed very much. Everyone is increasing their number of Twitter followers considerably: between 9% and 131% over the period.  Unless you are growing at around 40% per annum then you are falling behind!

It’s like the Red Queen – you have to run quite fast to stand still.  “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

However, those organisations towards the bottom of this list, and those which have fallen a place or two since last October, may well have decided that social media, and Twitter in particular, are not that important for their mission. On the other hand, it certainly looks as though organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts and WWF UK have actively decided to increase their Twitter presence as they have both at least doubled their number of followers.

Many organisations (and individuals) have multiple Twitter accounts (eg for individual nature reserves (eg @RSPBMinsmere) or schemes (eg @Birdtrack)) and so the ‘main’ accounts listed above do not encompass their whole Twitter presence.

Just for interest, here are some other Twitter accounts and their numbers of followers (in thousands):

@katyperry 57,028

@BarackObama 46,573

@BBCnews 3,200

@ClarenceHouse 406

@BrianMay 204

@rspca_official 171

@chrisgpackham 107

@georgemonbiot 102

@tonyjuniper 11

@bobfornature 4

Clearly, number of followers is a poor measure of worth – but it is a measure, a flawed measure no doubt, of popularity.





10 Replies to “Do you tweet? – re-revisited”

  1. Some follow the right people for the wrong reasons and others follow the wrong people for the right reasons. The trick is to follow the right people for the right reasons!

    1. How can you judge who is right and who is wrong? I follow people that inspire me, @JohnAitchison1, @Markavery, @RaptorPersScot, organisations that interest me, @_BTO_, @birdersagainst, @LeagueACS and I also follow tweets from people who i think are or will be influential, @ChrisGPackham @NGBirders, @WildeAboutBirds, @LucyMcRobert1. I follow friends, people with the same interests as me and some that just make me laugh. Because of my passion to help save our wildlife I follow @MMNNnatureUK, @RSPB_Skydancer, @_AndyClements. and some organisations that I feel are part of the problem @MoorlandAssoc @Gameandwildlife @BASCnews, @ShootingTimes, and some individual shooters, I would class these as ‘the wrong people’, but i follow them to listen to their views and if i’m honest hoping they’ll say something stupid. So i feel this is for the ‘right reasons’.

      1. In view of all these twittery people I think I need to declare that I am coming out and announce that I follow nobody. The Twitter era, as did the Facebook era, has passed me by. I do feel at my age that I have got a few things better to do than avidly watch the limited ramblings of people I don’t know in a format that makes absolutely no sense to me.

        Am I in a minority here; probably not but it feels as though I am heading that way. The only thing I regret is not investing in the ‘at symbol’ when it was floated (in 140 characters) on the stock exchange. Perhaps I will wait for everyone to come round to my way of thinking and start writing logically and at length once again.

    2. This highlights a key point: is the total number of followers what’s important or the number who are actively engaged?

      A key tactic of many Social Media marketeers has been to rely on the “scratch my back, scratch yours” method – i.e. you follow all of your competitor’s Followers (yes, even Joe Bloggs, with an average 9-5 job who has posted a grand total of 3 tweets ever) in the assumption they will feel obliged to follow you back. In essence your guilt-tripping people into following you. Now, that might get the numbers up, but chances are these people will not be actively engaged with your work. ‘Cos whilst its great to have a large audience, it means stuff all if none of them are listening to you or converting.

      A more accurate comparison would be of average tweet engagement rates: how many retweets does NGO #1 get, on average, in comparison to NGO #2, for example? How many favourites? What do reckon Mark – up for the challenge? 😉

      1. Layton – thanks for your comment. Indeed, there are all sorts of comments that could be made on the limitations of a list of this sort but I hope it’s still quite interesting, nonetheless.

        I only looked at Twitter and not Facebook or other social media activities.

        In a previous blog I calculated followers/million pounds income (where I came out top myself!) and also looked at lifetime tweets.

        I’d absolutely agree that interactions are an interesting measure – but I’m not going to attempt that analysis myself (because there would be lots of snags with that too!).

        I am sure that quite a lot of people follow their favourite organisations and individuals just as an easy ‘show of support’ – I know I do.

        I do intend to write a future blog post about how some of these organisations interact with their followers – I’ve meant to for quite a while, but haven’t yet got to it!

        Thanks for your comment(s).

  2. I opened an account some weeks ago as my RSS sidebar was getting impossibly cluttered. I will probably close the account again as it has not enhanced my life whatsoever. I do however have some more feeds inmy sidebar as a result….

  3. Social Media has ever been a slow crawl – it will be interesting to see the results of next year and the year after, etc to see the tectonic shifts in order to decide who is really taking it “seriously”. Take @love_plants for example. At 14th place, they’re in the bottom half, but with a growth rate of 63% they’re the fourth fastest growing. If they keep that up (or increase it?) they’ll be knocking on the door of the top half eventually.

    1. Layton – it certainly will be interesting. It certainly looks as though @wwf-uk and @wildlifetrusts are taking Twitter more seriously than they were and have made a big leap forward in numbers. I assume they wanted to! And they were starting from quite big followings anyway.

      It does also show, though, that a bloke with a Twitter account (ie me, in this case – but it could be you!) can get as big a following as a decent sized NGO if they have something interesting (or annoying) to say.

  4. “I will probably close the account again”

    On the other hand I would miss the occasional interaction with folk such as Euphonius Bugnuts

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