Top 10 “Influential” DC Twitterers

Last week, the Politico’s Patrick Gavin (@pwgavin) wrote this piece, The Top 10 Most Influential DC Twitterers. According to Patrick, they are:

  1. Karl Rove (@karlrove), former White House senior advisor & “Architect”
  2. Sen. Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc), U.S. Senator, D-Missouri
  3. David Gregory (@davidgregory), host of NBC’s Meet the Press
  4. President Barack Obama (@barackobama)
  5. Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich), former House Republican Speaker
  6. Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox), former Wonkette
  7. Sen. Chuck Grassley (@chuckgrassley), U.S. Senator, R-Iowa
  8. Joe Trippi (@joetrippi), Democratic campaign adviser
  9. Patrick Ruffini (@patrickruffini), GOP strategist
  10. Al Gore (@algore), former U.S. Vice President

Of course, as with most lists, there will usually be some disagreement. However, with all due respect, I think that Patrick’s list is way off the mark. All of these folks (with the possible exceptions of Ana Marie, Patrick and Joe) would be influential whether they are on Twitter or not.

Having said that, there is no doubt that Karl Rove is influential and it has been fun to watch him truly embrace Twitter to connect with his audience to answer questions or promote his media appearances, OpEds, speeches and travels. A friend sent me this note after Karl personally responded to one of his DM’s, “I love how my sisters never respond to my emails, but Karl Rove directly responds to Twitter messages.” I’m also a big fan of his TwitPics.

In contrast, Al Gore has only tweeted 13 times total (four times since Christmas 2008) and I am fairly certain that it isn’t him anyway. Where is the value in that? Also, there are over 200,000 people following him, but yet he only follows two. Is that what we need? A one-way conversation with Al Gore? No thanks, we’ve done that already. It was called Campaign 2000.

What about those that are influential *BECAUSE* they are on Twitter, not just influential *AND* on Twitter? See the difference?

I would actually place Patrick Ruffini toward the top of that list. However, he has been at it for a long time – and not just on Twitter. First there was his personal blog,, then he launched The Next Right with Jon Henke & Soren Dayton, then Mindy Finn joined him at Engage DC, and on top of all that, he has been instrumental in his recent efforts to help Rebuild the Party. So, yes, Patrick should definitely be on the list.

This got me to thinking. Who else would I put on there? I pulled out a pen and a post-it pad and began to scribble some names down. I actually came up with about 50 but decided to chop that down to ten, with five honorable mentions. Now, I can’t speak as to whether these people influence you but they have all had an impact on me.

My Top 10 DC Twitterers

So, to clarify, each of these people: 1) live/work in the Washington, DC area, and 2) have influenced me in some way via Twitter. In the spirit of yesterday’s #followfriday, the timing is perfect (sorta)! Here they are…

@robklauseRob Klause (@robklause), longtime digital guru and federal IT pro working at the highest levels of government. Rob first introduced me to Twitter back in March 2007. I’m also a big fan of @tonyaklause and food blogging sister @BigRedKitchen!
@newmediajimJim Long (@newmediajim), NBC photojournalist. Jim is single handedly bridging the gap between old and new media. Usually the answer to, “Are you following @newmediajim?” is always, “Of course!” After all, 24,000 followers can’t be wrong!
@katieharbathKatie Harbath (@katieharbath), DCI Group online strategist, former Giuliani eCampaign and RNC staffer. I was sitting next to Katie at a conference once and learned more about the session from her Twitter feed analysis than I did from the actual speakers!
@MichaelTurkMichael Turk (@MichaelTurk), former Bush-Cheney, RNC and government staffer. If you aren’t learning anything from Turk on Twitter, then you just aren’t paying attention. In fact, on his blog KungFuQuip, he indicates that he was labeled a “nuclear followcost.”
@Leslieann44Leslie Bradshaw (@LeslieBradshaw; formerly @Leslieann44), New Media Strategies, active member of the DC tech set. Leslie first popped up on my radar screen when she live tweeted the White House Correspondents’ dinner, as well as her various appearances on C-SPAN during Campaign 2008.
@cheeky_geekyMark Drapeau (@cheeky_geeky), government consultant, co-founder of Government 2.0 Club. I’ve never actually met Mark in person, but we’ve had several @ & DM conversations and spoken on the phone. Mark does a great job connecting the “Dot Gov” community and posting about issues I care about.
@LizMairLiz Mair (@LizMair), Strategic Manager at New Media Strategies, former RNC Online Communications Director. Liz made news in June 2008 when she represented the McCain campaign in a Twitter debate vs. Mike Nelson of Georgetown representing Obama at the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC.
@IsCoolShaun Dakin (@IsCool), founder of Shaun is also the man behind @EndTheRoboCalls and someone that I credit for increasing the awareness and level of debate around this issue. If there is a new media event in town, Shaun is usually in the room.
@SorenDaytonSoren Dayton (@SorenDayton), another NMS staffer, blogger, co-founder of The Next Right, former McCain campaign. When I needed to borrow a book for the GWU grad class I was teaching last summer, I turned to Twitter. Soren saw my tweet, responded and I borrowed his copy just in time!
@digitalsistaShireen Mitchell (@digitalsista), speaker, author, founder and Executive Director of Digital Sisters/Sistas, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on using digital media and technology. Shireen and I met at a Media Future Now event last year and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with her via her tweets!

Honorable Mentions

    Paul Rodriguez (@pjrodriguez), cable industry blogger and self described “pop culture media maven.” I officially met Paul at BlogWorld in Las Vegas last year and have been following his smart, witty and insightful tweets ever since.

    John Czwartacki (@CZ), Verizon’s PolicyBlog editor. John was one of the first people that I followed on Twitter. He may not know it, but he helped me indirectly explain the value to my mom when she, a Verizon retiree, had questions about the looming potential strike last summer. I sent her inquiry to John via direct message and I had an answer back within the hour.

    Jeremy Epstein (@jer979), author of “Igniting the Revolution” blog, entrepreneur, formerly with Microsoft. Jeremy’s perspective on digital marketing, including his “raving fan” concept, is spot on.

    Shana Glickfield (@dcconcierge), DC blogger and PR pro. I met Shana via Twitter last year and have since seen her at a number new media events around town. Plus, her DC Concierge blog is a terrific resource for those visiting the Nation’s Capital.

    Andrew Feinberg (@agfhome), scrappy Hill reporter, blogger. I spoke with Andrew after the Politics Online “White House 2.0” panel in March 2008. He was also the first to interview Rep. John Culberson (@johnculberson) about his use of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook during the “Let Our Congress Tweet” debate.

There Must Be Others!

Of course, as I mentioned, there are a number of names that probably could have been listed here but again – there’s a difference between people I know who are on Twitter versus those that actually influence me because of Twitter. There are also those that have had a significant impact on me who choose to “lock down” their Twitter account to maintain a smaller circle of influence. I decided not to include them either out of respect for their wishes to keep their tweets private.

Obviously, everyone’s list would be different but thanks to those who I have met over the past year via Twitter. You have made a difference and your tweets have not fallen on deaf screens (OK, not the best analogy, but you get the idea)!


What Twitter Is… To Me… (Kung Fu Quip)

Twinfluence is About Community (Cheeky Fresh)

Who Really Are DC’s Top Twitterers? (mediabistro)

There’s More to Influence on Twitter Than Being Famous (Huffington Post)

Why is Team Obama Opting Out of Twitter? (The Bivings Group)

David Almacy’s Top DC influential Twitterers – #IsCool (Shaun Dakin)

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7 Responses

  1. Shaun Dakin

    2 much.

    Thanks David.

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder
    The National Political Do Not Contact Registry

  2. PJ Rodriguez

    Many thanks for the honor, David.

    One of the most obnoxious things about the Politico list was the domination of Johnny-come-lately types on there, as opposed to three genuine hardcore Twitter influencers. It ended up as “influential people who have recently signed up for Twitter.” Sorry, that’s not what the new media revolution is all about.

    Damn the Man!

  3. Why is Team Obama Opting Out of Twitter?

    […] article spread around the Internet, as these types of list tend to do, with the the LA Times and David Almacy responding with their own lists.  All three lists are interesting, and sort of equally good/bad in […]

  4. CZ

    Honored for the “mention” but more honored to have helped your mom!

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