Since Twitter has achieved mainstream success and become a vital part of American culture, it’s also become a useful social research tool. The Twitter accounts with the most followers, for example, have drastically changed in the last few years. In the early days of Twitter, tech pundits like Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose were among the most followed people on Twitter. A few celebrities including MC Hammer and Ashton Kutcher were early adopters and near the top of the food chain as well.
Now, with Twitter’s user base representing a large portion of America, the most followed accounts better speak to the celebrity obsessed culture in the country. Music artist Lady Gaga has held the title for most followers the past couple of years with a little over 22 million. Teen superstar Justin Bieber has risen to the second spot with 19.3 million followers.
Musicians dominate much of the Twitter landscape these days. Katy Perry (17 million), Rihanna (16 million), Shakira (15.2 million) and Britney Spears (14.9 million) take spots 3 – 6. Reality TV superstar Kim Kardashian has the 7th most followers with 14.2 million.
US President Barack Obama is the only politician in the top 10 and his active presence on the site has helped him win over much of the younger demographic. Obama currently has over 13.6 million followers on Twitter. The president himself doesn’t tweet, though. The page is run by Obama’s campaign staff and features a countdown to Election Day.
Not surprisingly, Obama and Kardashian are the only non-musicians on the top 10. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are currently in positions 9 and 10, respectively.
What does Twitter say about us as a culture? Probably nothing that we didn’t already know: we love celebrities and we love music. While ‘famous’ geeks like Laporte and Rose were once the kings of Twitter, neither cracks the top 100 most followed accounts anymore. The same isn’t true for Kutcher, though. He comes in at position 15 with just over 1 million followers.
Twitter’s trends will continue to mirror those of popular culture. Whoever is popular, interesting or controversial at the time will be a popular figure on the social media website. Whether somebody is interested in hiking, automated shades, cooking or music, there are accounts for them to follow on the site. Don’t expect anybody to dethrone the pop music icons that currently dominate the Twitter landscape though!
Michelle provided this guest post. She is a twitter addict, who also has to admit her love for celebrity pop culture.