The Law Prof Twitter Network 2.0

This post has been updated from the previous one located here. I left the previous post up so that anyone interested in changes over time can see the previous results. 

There are about 50 more profs in the network now. Interestingly, in just the past few days the structure of the law prof twitter network has become somewhat more dense (perhaps partially as a result of law profs viewing the previous post). I have omitted solo nodes with no connections to the network.

Following recent discussions about the importance of blogging/tweeting to contemporary academia (see: LSE via TaxProf), and Bridget Crawford’s Law Prof Twitter Census (version 3.0) over at TheFacultyLounge, I thought I’d do some number crunching and network building.

I wrote a short script to read all of the law prof twitter handles included in the census (along with a few provided by others individually) and query the twitter API to get the follower lists and statistics for each user. This allowed me to both rank law prof twitterers (because we all know how much people like to rank things) and project them onto an interactive network so we can see how they relate to one another.

To view the network, click through the image below. The law prof network (consisting of following relationships amongst law profs in the census) has 583 nodes and 20709 edges (directed density = 0.061). The entire network (including all of the followers of all of the law profs) is much larger. In total there are 795,399 unique twitter users who follow law profs. You’ll note that almost half of these follow Professor Lessig, who has an order of magnitude more followers than any other law prof.

Colors in the network correspond to communities detected using the Louvain method. Modularity in the network is 0.336, with 4 communities and a few solo nodes/pairs. I haven’t delved much into the meaning of the clusters, but I’d be interested to hear any theories about what they might represent.


As with most social networks there’s a skewed distribution of followers. The below plots the degree distribution for the law prof only network (probability of k degree x degree).


There’s a similar skew in the all follower relationships. The table below lists the top twenty profs by number of followers:


Handle Name School Followers
lessig Lawrence Lessig Harvard 325282
mgeist Michael Geist Ottawa 67274
SportsLawGuy Gabe Feldman Tulane 33757
zittrain Jonathan Zittrain Harvard 30859
McCannSportsLaw Michael McCann New Hampshire 29916
ZephyrTeachout Zephyr Teachout Fordham 25436
CassSunstein Cass Sunstein Harvard 21471
gregorymcneal Greg McNeal Pepperdine 17441
scrawford Susan Crawford Cardozo 15657
superwuster Tim Wu Columbia 11860
JonathanTurley Jonathan Turley George Washington 11731
bethnoveck Beth Simone Noveck NYLS 10434
RichardMoorhead Richard Moorhead Univ College London 10337
patentlyo Dennis Crouch Missouri 9905
PrivacyLaw Michael Scott Southwestern 9028
garylfrancione Gary Francione Rutgers-Newark 8859
adamwinkler Adam Winkler UCLA 8712
ericgoldman Eric Goldman Santa Clara 8357
rickhasen Rick Hasen Irvine 7881
ProfHolloway Kara Holloway Duke 7876


Limiting our rankings to those professors who have the most followers amongst other law professors on twitter, changes the results quite a bit. Note the change here since the data was last fetched. Connections have increased pretty much across the board, and @lessig has taken the lead in this metric as well.


Handle Name School Prof_followers
lessig Lawrence Lessig Harvard 209
DeanDBRodriguez Daniel B. Rodriguez Northwestern 206
nancyleong Nancy Leong Denver 178
CassSunstein Cass Sunstein Harvard 177
orinkerr Orin Kerr George Washington 172
zittrain Jonathan Zittrain Harvard 156
lsolum Larry Solum Georgetown 152
daniellecitron Danielle Citron Maryland 147
FrankPasquale Frank Pasquale Maryland 144
marklemley Mark Lemley Stanford 143
CharlotteGarden Charlotte Garden Seattle 143
profbcrawford Bridget Crawford Pace 142
steve_vladeck Steve Vladeck American 137
DanielSolove Dan Solove George Washington 136
profabartow Ann Bartow Pace 136
PatentScholar Lisa Ouellette Stanford 132
SoCalTaxProf Paul Caron Pepperdine 129
MargotKaminski Margot Kaminski Ohio State 128
JoshMBlackman Joshua Blackman South Texas 125
design_law Sarah Burstein Oklahoma 125


If we group profs by school and rank them by followers, the top twenty look as below. Obviously having a twitter superstar on the faculty really boosts the ranking. Michael Geist’s inclusion in the dataset at this point puts the University of Ottawa in second place.


School Followers
Harvard 384512
Ottawa 72945
George Washington 41138
Tulane 33918
New Hampshire 30568
Fordham 29261
Pepperdine 23553
Chicago 18498
NYU 18361
Univ College Dublin Sutherland 16196
Georgetown 16116
Cardozo 16079
Duke 14194
Maryland 12329
Columbia 11860
Univ College London 11684
NYLS 11618
UCLA 11475
Stanford 11183
Santa Clara 11167


Again, if we do the same as above but focus only on prof followers the results change quite a bit:


School Prof Followers
NYU 865
Harvard 715
Chicago 687
George Washington 598
Georgetown 510
Stanford 445
Pace 428
Maryland 415
Univ College Dublin Sutherland 359
Duke 307
Ohio State 307
Pepperdine 288
Colorado 284
Cambridge 278
Denver 271
Santa Clara 268
Northwestern 268
Drexel 235
Toledo 224
Emory 218



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