Matt Cooper dethrones Des Cahill from top of Twitter influence list
PR firm Murray ranks journalists’ clout on followers, retweets, likes and tweets per day
Matt Cooper: the presenter of Today FM’s The Last Word went from 22nd place to the top of the ranking of Irish journalists’ influence on Twitter. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
The presenter of Today FM’s The Last Word rocketed from 22nd to the number one spot, while the RTÉ sports presenter and waltz enthusiast Des Cahill dropped to 11th.
“It’s not that Des Cahill has been too busy Dancing with the Stars, but simply that Matt Cooper’s profile on Twitter has increased more rapidly in the past 12 months, with a large increase in both his followers and the daily level of activity,” said Doug Keatinge, the Murray director who led the research.
The top 10 is rounded out by economist David McWilliams, Sunday Business Post columnist Elaine Byrne, investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty, Irish Times columnist Una Mullally, Morning Ireland presenter Cathal Mac Coille and RTÉ’s Washington correspondent Caitríona Perry.
Other Irish Times journalists in the top 20 include consumer affairs correspondent Conor Pope, political correspondent Harry McGee, sports writer Ken Early and public affairs correspondent Simon Carswell.
Murray analysed more than 700 accounts in November-December 2016 and ranked the top 100 accounts based on popularity, engagement and level of activity (tweets per day). The data was based on the accounts’ previous 3,200 tweets.
David McWilliams has the most followers of the accounts analysed, while Gemma O’Doherty garnered the most retweets.
Matt Cooper had the most favourites (or likes), and Miguel Delaney, chief football correspondent for Independent.co.uk, sent the most tweets per day. The Irish Times rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley had the highest percentage of his tweets retweeted and liked (or favourited).
The biggest gainer since Murray’s previous analysis was Irish Examiner political editor Daniel McConnell, who climbed 155 places to 37th.
When broken down by category, the poll-toppers included Conor Pope in consumer/personal finance, Bernice Harrison of The Irish Times in property, Today FM’s Gavan Reilly in politics and RTÉ’s Fergal Bowers in health. Crime was added as a category for the first time, with the Irish Daily Star’s Michael O’Toole found to be the most influential crime journalist on Twitter.
The reach of journalists based in Ireland continues to expand, Mr Keatinge said.
The top 100 accounts have 2.6 million followers between them, which is up 13 per cent on the previous year. The figure is also six times bigger than the total circulation of daily newspapers, Mr Keatinge noted.
“Even though as a business Twitter faces growth challenges, it continues to provide an important channel for journalists to engage with readers and alert them to new content and breaking stories,” he said.
Overall, RTÉ has 18 journalists in the top 100, while The Irish Times has 15 and the Independent News & Media group 16. Newstalk has nine, the Sunday Business Post has seven and the Irish Examiner has four.
“Professing his love of Twitter, Donald Trump rather unkindly described it as akin to ‘owning your own newspaper – without the losses’,” said Murray managing director Pat Walsh.
However, it is not a case of “either or”, he added. The research shows how journalists are using Twitter to “amplify” their traditional reporting activity and strengthen both the reach of the media brands that employ them and their own personal profiles.