Introducing Supply Chain Power Influencers on Twitter

Social media has been adopted by supply chain management professionals as a mechanism to express opinions and disseminate knowledge. Since there is too much information floating around, many people rely on "influencers" who exhibit expertise, enthusiasm or credibility. Then, this article will show how influencers in supply chain management can be identified.

In January 2012, Forbes published the article named "Who Are The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers?" in the attempt to identify top social media writers and experts on Twitter. We dig deeper and find that the identification of social media influencer also gets attention from academia.

In 2011, a research team consists of the experts from the University of Michigan and Yahoo, Inc published the article named "Everyone’s an Influencer: Quantifying Influence on Twitter". Under this study, 74 million events from 1.6 million Twitter users were analyzed. The result shows that contents shared by a user with a large network (high number of followers and friends of followers) may not spread widely because people choose to pass along information from some specific users (influencers). In short, the level of influence is associated with a number of retweets not a number of followers. 

Related Metrics
There are 3 other metrics dedicated to the measurement of social media influence as below,

1) Klout develops Klout Score, the number of 1-100 that represents influence (the ability to drive action). Other factors such as the size of the network, type of networks each person is in, length of time, how active each user is, are also used to calculate a final score.

2) Kred analyzes tweets from the last 1,000 days to determine influence score. Retweeted, Replied, Mentioned and Followed are taken into consideration and the score is on a 1,000 point scale.

3) Peerindex measures how contents you post are retweeted, shared on Facebook and +1 on Google Plus by other people in the same subject area.

Data Collection
As you may notice, "retweet" is the key metric for influence measurement and each database adds its own secret ingredients. In order to access and retrieve data at scale from Klout, Kred or Peerindex, enterprise level subscription is required. Then, we use "Buzzsumo" as an alternative data source and data collection are performed as below,

1) We search twitter profile based on a broad keyword search.
2) Buzzsumo returns about 2,000 twitter profiles.
3) "Average Retweets" or "the average number of retweets each user gets per tweet" is used as a ranking metric.
4) Irrelevant users are removed.
5) Many users/companies have multiple accounts so only one account is considered.

And the list of Supply Chain Power Influencers on Twitter is presented in no particular order as below,

- MIT Supply Chain (@mitsupplychain)

- Richard Wilding OBE (@supplychainprof)

- PSU Supply Chain (@psusupplychain)

- WERC (@werc)

- APICS (@apics)

- Bob Ferrari (@bob_ferrari)

- lcecere (@lcecere)

- Quintiq (@quintiq)

- SCMR (@scmr)

- SJF MaterialHandling (@sjf_com)

- Martijn Graat (@logisticsmatter)

- Supply Chain at MSU (@msusupplychain)

- David W. Weaver (@weaver_davidw)

- Logistics Viewpoints (@logisticsviewpt)

- Cerasis (@cerasis)

- Morai Logistics (@Morai Logistics)

Since we pull out data using the keyword search, it's possible that some users may not be included and we believe a metric is not the only way to identify influencers.

- Bakshy, E., Hofman, J. M., Mason, W. A., & Watts, D. J. (2011, February). Everyone's an influencer: quantifying influence on twitter. In Proceedings of the fourth ACM international conference on Web search and data mining (pp. 65-74). ACM.

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Last review and update: January 30, 2020
All contents are written by Ben Benjabutr unless marked as [Guest Commentary]

About the Author and Editor:
Ben Benjabutr is the author and editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in supply chain management. You can connect with Ben via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.