The Washington Post

Social media rankings: perceptive or pointless?

Another week, another set of social media stats to “reveal” that so-and-so is more influential than so-and-so on social media. A growing number of companies are touting these rankings, which now cover everything from sports to the Supreme Court, as key insights to the ways of the world. But are they really?

The most recent example comes by way of an outfit called Unmetric that sent me a “full report” that shows the Dallas Cowboys have the most Twitter and Facebook followers while the Chicago Bears are the “most engaged” on social media. This feat of research also included a nifty infographic with bar charts and more.

Unmetric, of course, is far from the only company cooking up rankings from online media. There’s Klout to rank people like Biebs and Obama as well as rivals like PeekYou which offers more rarified fare like the rank of the Supreme Court justices.

At this rate, it won’t be long until a company comes along to offer multi-media rankings for the neighborhood cats.

All of this raises the question of whether there is anything useful about all these studies and metrics. Does it matter that Bears fans are more “engaged” than Giants fans? Is it helpful to know that Clarence Thomas ranks #3 for web presence even though he’s regarded as sub-par jurist?

According to PeekYou CEO Michael Hussey, the point of the company is to “explore the web from a people perspective” and to show their media influence.

While some of these stats are no doubt useful to marketers, it remains to be seen if media/social media rankings will grow into a useful science or if they’re just a fad to feed our insatiable craving for rankings.

(c) 2012,

Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.