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Sir Richard Branson is most powerful Briton on Twitter

By
Richard Branson

© Rex Features

Sir Richard Branson has been named the most powerful Briton on Twitter in a top ten dominated by celebrities and figures from entertainment, according to new research.

The Independent & i newspapers' 'Twitter 100' reveals a "radical shift in power" on the microblogging website as it becomes "increasingly populist" through its recent massive growth.

Virgin Group founder Branson (1.8m followers) tops the list of the most powerful British Twitter users, ahead of Sarah Brown (1.1m followers), wife of former prime minister Gordon Brown, and comedian Alan Carr (2m followers) in joint second place.

The top ten is dominated by major names from comedy and TV, including Ricky Gervais, Rob Brydon, Chris Moyles and Jamie Oliver in joint fourth place, followed by Eddie Izzard (8), and Derren Brown (9).

This is in contrast to 2011's top ten, which included equally as influential yet less well known names, such as fashion journalist Hilary Alexander, business blogger Umair Haque and media entrepreneur Zee M Kane.

The list, compiled by the Independent and i with help from PeerIndex, analysed who holds the most influence and power on Twitter, not just the most followers. It was based on how people respond to other Twitter users, the influence of their tweets and the number of re-tweets they receive.

Publication of the list comes after Twitter's recent announcement that it had passed 500 million users worldwide, although only around 100m are thought to be 'active' users.

The top ten list is as follows:

1 Richard Branson
2= Sarah Brown
2= Alan Carr
4= Ricky Gervais
4= Rob Brydon
4= Chris Moyles
4= Jamie Oliver
8 Eddie Izzard
9 Derren Brown
10= Jack Wilshire
10= James Corden
10= Stephen Fry

The Independent's editor Chris Blackhurst commented: "This year's Twitter 100 shows Twitter's massive growth to become a major source of news content.

"The influx of populist names further shows the speed at which Twitter can break mainstream stories directly through individuals themselves."

Stefano Hatfield, the executive editor of i, added: "The names on this year's Twitter 100, and recent reports that Twitter has hit 500m users, reflects the power of this social media channel.

"By teaming up with PeerIndex we were able to reveal not only who has the most amount of followers, but how they interact with their followers makes them powerful."

> Twitter mobile apps to get 'promoted tweets'

In terms of journalists and media, the BBC's business editor Robert Peston was the most powerful name after he recently broke a series of major stories on Twitter.

Other highly-placed names included Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow, Channel 4's Faisal Islam, the Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw and The Guardian's technology editor Charles Arthur.

Journalists/Media
Robert Peston (29)
Felix Salmon (36)
Hilary Alexander (36)
Cory Doctorow (38)
Faisal Islam (38)
Paul Mason (38)
Paul Waugh (46)
Sunny Hundal (46)
Tim Bradshaw (46)
Johnathan Freedland (49)
Andrew Sparrow (54)
Sandra Hagelstam (56)
Charles Arthur (56)
Caitlin Moran (60)
Medhi Hasan (60)
Neal Mann (62)
Laura Kuenssberg (62)
Phil McNulty (65)
Rory Cellan-Jones (65)
Alastair Campbell (65)
George Monbiot (67)
Susanna Lau (69)
Alberto Nardello (73)
India Knight (73)
David Bradley (73)
Alan Rusbrridger (77)
Milo Yiannopoulos (77)
Jemima Khan (80)
Andrew Lewis (80)
Roger Highfield (84)
Fraser Nelson (87)
Ian Mansfield (87)
David Stringer (90)
Giles Coren (90)

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