Why Twitter Inc. Loves Charlie Sheen

There’s no arguing that Charlie Sheen is this week’s Twitter phenomenon, blowing past 1M+ followers in just over 24 hours. Naturally, we went straight to the data, and used Export.ly to analyze his first 500K followers. Our take-away: Twitter (the company) loves celebs. Charlie Sheen’s relevance became apparent in our analysis – Twitter employees were early to the account, a broad inactive audience followed, and the celebrity community engaged to compound the impact. These high profile accounts bring the mass market audience to Twitter – the key for gaining broad, international adoption and reaching Facebook audience levels.

Who were the first to follow him? It’s already been revealed that Twitter and Ad.ly were both involved in the behind the scenes events that lead up to Sheen’s first tweet. Our report confirms 5 of his first 6 followers were Twitter employees. Ever since Twitter hired an official liaison to the stars, its become very clear just how valuable celebrities are to their long-term growth strategy.

We found only a small fraction of Sheen’s followers are considered power users. His audience is mass market, and that’s evident when 75% have <100 followers. In addition, most of his followers haven’t tweeted much and don’t follow very many people.

Going further on followers we see that 89% boast fewer than 250 followers.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the top celebrities to join the fun. As represented by follower rank, Perez Hilton was tipped about Sheen’s verified account very early on before Sheen even reached 1,000 followers. While others like P. Diddy followed many hours later, in most cases they decided to help propel the numbers further by spreading the word.

Want to share these charts? Feel free to post it on your blog with link attribution to Export.ly.

Adam Schoenfeld

Adam Schoenfeld

Adam is the co-founder and CEO at Simply Measured. He has led Simply Measured from its inception as 'Untitled Startup, Inc' to become the leading social media analytics company, serving more than 1/3 of the top 100 brands and over 100,000 users. Adam is a golfer, breakfast enthusiast, and long-time data geek.

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  • http://www.trupanionpetinsurance.com Brent

    Live the Sheen Dream!

  • http://twitter.com/flashpreviews Anthony Galeano

    nice data sets.

  • http://twitter.com/flashpreviews Anthony Galeano

    Nice data sets!

  • http://twitter.com/RiverCityGal Stephanie B.

    I’d love to know how the “follower by follower count” compares to a placebo/average account through Export.ly

  • http://twitter.com/bcarr bcarr

    I got tipped about @charliesheen before he reached… 8 followers. EAT YOUR HEART OUT PEREZ HILTON!

    • http://twitter.com/RiverCityGal Stephanie B.

      Haha, you’re ridiculous Brad :)

  • Peter

    If I have – say exact 50 Followers: am I counted in the red or in the blue group?

    • http://rowfeeder.com Adam Schoenfeld

      Red. But, good question. I now realize this isn’t clear from the labels.
      Thanks for calling this out! We’ll adjust on our reports.

  • Van

    This sentence doesn’t quite make sense: “His audience is mass market, and that’s evident when only 75% have <100 followers." Mass market would be indicated by his audience having few followers themselves, right? So why the "only" in front of 75%?

    • http://rowfeeder.com Adam Schoenfeld

      Thanks for calling this out. You are absolutely correct. We removed the “only.”

  • http://www.soopermexican.com Soopermexican

    interesting analysis…

  • http://twitter.com/rabble rabble

    Celebs were part of Twitter’s strategy from day one. The first couple years they had a tough time of it, but they sent folks down to Hollywood around the time of the first public announcement. They did repeated deals with MTV and others to try and get celeb’s tweeting. It took a long time, but it was ALWAYS the goal.

  • http://twitter.com/dannystarr Danny Starr

    What’s the point of this analysis other than pulling the old move of “analyzing something popular to get attention” move we see time and again?

    My favorite is this little nugget “Our take-away: Twitter (the company) loves celebs”

    No shit they do. So does 1000,000 Milkshakes who will pay anyone with a pulse and a name in the tabloids money to suck a shake for the paps.

    This data doesn’t really mean anything without something to compare it against. Who cares who his followers are or how many followers they have if you don’t provide some comparison.

    But then again, there really isn’t much point to the analysis in the first place.

    • http://twitter.com/kottiuk James Darracott

      Wow, you sound like a barrel of laughs. Ever considered that some people might find that there actually is a point to this analysis, because he has received the fastest growing follower count ever?

  • Joel Dietz / @fractastical

    You’d have to do a similar analysis of other twitter accounts. What if most twitter accounts have 75% of followers with less than 100 followers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laurie-Bell/100001603857621 Laurie Bell

    Why we care about Charlie Sheen?
    http://www.psychology-advice.net/tag/charlie-sheen

  • http://keithprivette.com @keithprivette

    Dig the data analysis of export.ly & ad.ly! You should follow up bout the reach of that 1st tweet in regards to how far deep into the connections did it go? That would be interesting to see if that one tweet interconnected people on twitter. It would be interesting the percentage of people on twitter did that 1st tweet touch….food for thought!