This year’s law prof twitter census results were recently published over on TheFacultyLounge. At the risk of being pilloried by law profs on twitter, I’ve again chosen to map out the prof following network and tabulate some rankings. As always, caveats abound (see below).
There was an impressive growth in the number of twitter users who follow law profs over the past couple of years. We’re now at 6,384,711 total unique twitter users that follow at least one law professor. That’s more a than 50% increase since I last did this a couple of years ago. We’ve also seen an increase in the degree to which law profs follow one another, with the law prof network density now reaching 0.094 (i.e. almost 10% of the possible connections within the law prof network are present).
The image below shows the network, clicking it should take you to an interactive version. Colors correspond to detected communities where ties are somewhat more likely amongst same-colored nodes than to users outside the community. I have again added a ‘link’ attribute to each node, which will take you to their Twitter profile. This makes it easier for you to follow (or unfollow?) users you find while exploring the network. Zooming in will reveal more node labels, so if you can’t find yourself use the search feature and then just do some zooming and panning.
Top-20 law profs by total followers:
|JonathanTurley||Jonathan Turley||George Washington||328483|
|jentaub||Jennifer Taub||Western New England||252386|
|StevePeers||Steve Peers||Essex (UK)||162221|
|rickhasen||Rick Hasen||UC Irvine||98887|
Top-20 law profs by law prof followers:
|AnthonyMKreis||Anthony Kreis||Georgia State||682|
|DBRodriguez5||Daniel B. Rodriguez||Northwestern||659|
|leahlitman||Leah Litman||UC Irvine||597|
|HoffProf||David A. Hoffman||Penn||581|
|OrlyLobel||Orly Lobel||San Diego||534|
|EvidenceProf||Colin Miller||South Carolina||515|
Top-20 schools based on the number of law prof follower sums:
This year’s bonus analysis:
I was curious about the almost 6.5 million twitter users who follow at least one law prof. Who are these people? Do they have a connection to a single prof or two that they follow? Or are they—for whatever reason—intensely interested in law prof tweets and thus following a whole bunch of law profs? To answer this, I tallied the number of law profs followed by each of these unique non-prof twitter users. It turns out the majority (72%) of twitter users who follow a law prof only follow a single one of the 1459 in the network.
That said, there are some real law prof enthusiasts on twitter. The distribution is highly skewed, so I’ve plotted it just for those who follow 50 or more law profs. As you can see, there are thousands (7,469) of such masochists. There is even a handful of users who follow more than 1000 law profs.
So, how do you attract attention from these non-law prof twitter users? The answer here is fairly simple: tweet. There’s certainly some more nuance you could add to this analysis, in that the substance of your tweets must matter at some level. Nonetheless, the relationship between tweeting and follower count is fairly clear:
Caveats and data
As always, this process is imperfect. The census relies on self-reporting and is thus incomplete. If a user isn’t listed in the census they’re not in the network. Whenever I do this, people message me and ask me to add their handle. Unfortunately, I can’t add users to this version of the network because it just takes too much time. But, I do try to add these folks to the census next time round. I am forgetful though, so adding yourself to the census is an even more reliable way to be included.
As always, there were some handles in the census that threw errors of various types when trying to get their data via the Twitter API. Errors included: no such user, user suspended, or private profile. I removed isolates from the network, so if you don’t have any follower/following relationships with other law profs you won’t show up in the network data. I did very little data cleaning from the original census data, so if schools are represented with multiple names or there were typos in the input data those issues remain. Raw data available for download here, network data available on request.