Twitter Census: Trst Rank

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Twitter influence metrics with the click of a button! Trstrank measures Twitter user reputation, importance and influence in a way far more robust than counting the number of followers. It is a sophisticated measure of a user’s relative importance among the entire Twitter network. The API measures Twitter influence across two dimensions for each query: the “rank” (trstrank) and quotient (tq).

The dataset is current as of April 2011.

The basic idea is to look at how many people interact with you and give you their attention, weighted by how many people interact and pay attention to them.

Trstrank Score Methodology

The Trstrank score is logarithmically distributed on a scale of 0 – 10, where 10 is the highest reputation possible.

For example, @BarackObama’s 9.9 makes him many times more important than @ShashiTharoor’s 8.9.

Trstquotient Score Methodology

Trstquotient helps differentiate between users of similar Trstrank. The TrstQuotient is an integer between 0 and 100 that quantifies the relationship between a user’s Trstrank and their follower count. It indicates how normal a user’s Trstrank is, given his number of followers. A very-low TrstQuotient can be a sign of a spammy or abusive Twitter account. More followers usually means a higher Trstrank, but it’s possible for two Twitter users to have a similar Trstrank but vastly different numbers of followers. Vastly fewer followers for a comparable Trstrank says a user’s followers are themselves pretty trustworthy which reflects back well upon the user.

For example, consider NY Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner @NickKristof, who’s able to score an impressive Trstrank of 7.29 with a meager 1 million followers. His TrstQuotient is 80. Compare him with in-again-out-again pop diva @BritneySpears whose horde of over 5 million followers grants her a Trstrank score of 8.07, only a little bit higher than @NickKristof. Britney’s TrstQuotient is a meager 20. (Conclusions about the general trustworthiness of NY Times readers and Britney Spears fans left to the reader.)

Want more math? Check out to sample a fully operational interface using Trstrank. While you’re at it, also read up on the 30-machine cluster used to produce an iterative eigenvalue solution of the sparse matrix modeling steady-state network flow on the interest graph: 50M+ users, 1.5B+ connections.

Why is this different than the number of followers a user has? Some users are more valuable followers than others. For example:

  • 20 followers to your account who have 0 followers each are much less valuable than just 1 follower who has 5 followers who each have an average amount of followers themselves.
  • If @conanobrien randomly decides one day to follow you, your trstrank will increase much more than if your twitterverse-unknown aunt Marge followed you.

Why Is This Important?

The importance and trustworthiness of a Twitter user cannot accurately be measured by the number of followers alone. There are many spam accounts on Twitter that create networks of their own users to make it appear as though they are legitimate (ex: user A follows user B and user C. User B follows A and C. User C follows A and B). Ranking users with this algorithm can solve many importance/trust problems.

The Infochimps have been collecting data from the Twitter API since 2008, and have tweets going back as far as March 2006. Our entire data set contains nearly 50 million users, 1.6 billion tweets, and over 1 billion connections between users.

Sign up for the API today to get easy, instant, simple answers to hard questions, or download the entire dataset.

Click on “App Gallery” to check out the amazing capabilities of this data. See what others have created using Trstrank!

The API “scrapes” Twitter profiles, extracting user profile information. The simplicity of the API provides ease of use with connecting your program or tool to a constant feed of Twitter user data. Once the API key is implemented in your code, you’ll never have to worry about refreshing the feed or updating the request for new information.

Test the functionality of the API now using the “Sample Request” below. Try one of the samples below, or enter your own details in the “user_ID” or “screen_name” field:


Use the Twitter Screen Name to User ID Search to find User ID numbers.

Use Cases:

  • Filter influencers/non-influencers ** A high trstQuotient (> 70) is an indication of an important person.
  • Spam Filtering ** A low trstQuotient (< 30) is an indication of a spammy account.