How Does Twitter Grader Calculate Twitter Rankings?
The most common question I get at grader.com is about how the Twitter Grader algorithm (and associated rankings) works. Before we dig a bit into the details, it will help to understand the what before the how.
What Twitter Grader is trying to measure is the power, reach and
authority of a twitter account. In other words, when you tweet,
what kind of an impact does it have?
Normally, we don’t like talking about the details of the
Twitter Grader algorithm. This is for the same reason that Google
doesn’t like to talk about its algorithm: revealing details
increases the degree to which people try to game the system. So,
lets approach the question from a different way. If one were to
look at data for a given user available in twitter, what kinds of
things would one look at to determine whether that user had power,
reach and authority? Also, when looking at these various factors,
it’s helpful to think about each of these in the “all other
things being equal, what’s better” context.
Otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up into non-productive
arguments on why a certain factor is or isn’t important, because
there are so many cases that “prove” that it doesn’t
matter. Let me explain. One of the factors that goes into
measuring your Twitter Grade is the number of followers you have.
Many of you will argue that the number of followers is completely
irrelevant because it’s so easy to game. There
are automated tools to do nothing but acquire followers by following a
bunch of people. That’s true. It is easy to
spike up your follower count. However, I would counter with
this: If we were looking at two different twitter users, all
other things being equal (and I do mean all other things),
the one with more followers is likely more powerful and deserves a
higher twitter grade. Of course, all other things are usually not equal and that’s why the Twitter Grade is interesting.
So, let’s go into the factors. Note: These are NOT
in order of priority or weight (and they’re not all weighted
equally — not by a long shot).
1. Number of Followers: More followers leads
to a higher Twitter Grade (all other things being equal). Yes, I
agree that it’s easy to game this number, but we are looking
at measuring reach and I did say all other things being equal.
2. Power of Followers: If you have people
with a high Twitter Grade following you, it counts more than those with
a low Twitter Grade following you. It’s a bit recursive,
and we don’t get carried away with it, but it helps.
3. Updates: More updates generally leads to a higher grade — within reason. This does not
mean you should be tweeting like a manic squirrel cranked up on
caffeine and sugar. It won’t help either your Twitter Grade
or your overall happiness in life.
4. Update Recency: Users that are more current (i.e. time elapsed since last tweet is low) generally get higher grades.
5. Follower/Following Ratio: The higher the
ratio, the better. However, the weight of this particular factor
decreases as the user accrues points for other factors (so, once a user
gets to a high level of followers or a high level of engagement, the
Follower/Following ratio counts less).
6. Engagement: The more a given user’s
tweets are being retweeted, the more times the user is being referenced
or cited, the higher the twitter grade. Further, the value of the
engagement is higher based on who is being engaged. If a user
with a very high Twitter Grade retweets, it counts more than if a
spammy account with a very low grade retweets.
The Grade Calculation: So, those are the factors that go into the calculation of a score. This score is then used to compare a user against all other users that also have a score. The grade
is calculated as the approximate percentage of other users that have an
equal or lower score. So, a Twitter Grade of 80 means that about
80% of the other users got a lower score. At the time this
article is being written, over 2.1 million users have been graded.
The Ranking: The absolute ranking is exactly what
it sounds like. Based on all other users scored, what’s
your “position” in that list. A ranking of 5,000
means that only 4,999 other people had a higher score than you (at that
point in time).
Elite List: The elite list is simply an ordered
list of the top users (based on ranking) at a given point in
time. This list is updated several times a day. We also
maintain lists of the top ranking users based on a narrower set of
users (like those in a specific geography, those that match a specific
That’s all I’ve got for now. Hopefully, this
answers some of your questions. What are other factors you think
we should be looking at to compute the Twitter Grade? Would
love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments.