Twitter: Celebrities vs. Things That Really Matter

This post by Tarek Riman is an entry to our $4,000 Blogging Contest. Tarek is a Social Media and SEO Specialist, working in the fashion industry, and the founder of seomworld.

Everybody knows that Twitter is the favorite social media outlet for celebrities, who can reach millions of followers with their daily tweets. But how do the really important causes – such as Breast Cancer, Cancer, Movember, Greenpeace, Save the Homeless, etc.) – stack up to those celebrities in terms of popularity and general interest?

I wanted to study this matter using hashtags as a way to make the comparison, using data from and CyBranding Hashtag Intelligence. So I chose Hashtags related to causes, values, and global issues, and compared these trends with Hashtags associated with celebrities.

Let me warn you: The upcoming numbers may shock you, or even worse, ruin your mood.

General Popular Causes on Social Media

Starting from the relevant hashtags and the top influencers listed on for those hashtags, I compiled a list of the global top influencers for some important causes:

1. The biggest environment/sustainability related accounts on Twitter

1. @Treehugger 260,838 followers
2. @sustaincities 60,062 followers
3. @GuardianSustBiz 59,599 followers
4. @sustainbrands 30,181 followers
5. @cdcgreenhealthy 12,381 followers

2. The biggest “Green” related accounts on Twitter

1. @algore 2,701,403 followers
2. @greenpeace 916,072 followers
3. @huffpostgreen 202,784 followers
4. @Planetgreen 149,979 followers
5. @greenforyou 37,306 followers

3. The biggest “Cause” related account on Twitter

1. @unicef 2,317,182 followers
2. @Charitywater 1,410,282 followers
3. @red 1,044,019 followers
4. @onecampaign 736,251 followers
5. @causes 132,207 followers


We can then compare the top 5 celebrities on Twitter:

1. @katyperry 47,898,456 followers
2. @justinbieber 47,353,946 followers
3. @ladygaga 40,721,478 followers
4. @taylorswift 37,148,051 followers
5. @britneyspears 34,411,074 followers

If we pick the 5th ranked showtime celebrity,  @britneyspears, and compare her to all the top Environmental, Green and Cause associated accounts on the net, here is what we get:

1. The biggest environment related and sustainable accounts on twitter 363,462

@britneyspears 34,411,074

@Treehugger  260,838
@sustaincities  60,062
@GuardianSustBiz  59, 599
@sustainbrands  30,181
@cdcgreenhealthy  12,381
2. The biggest green Related accounts on twitter 4,007,544
@algore  2,701,403
@greenpeace 916,072
@huffpostgreen  202,784
@Planetgreen 149,979
@greenforyou  37,306
3. The biggest cause related account on twitter 5,639,941
@unicef  2,317,182
@Charitywater  1,410,282
@red  1,044,019
@onecampaign  736,251
@causes  132,207
Total: 10,010,947 @britneyspears: 34,411,074

So, even aggregating the top 15 Twitter accounts for all these causes, we get to just 29% of the followers of the single account of the 5th ranked celebrity. And what we are really comparing here is information like this:

With this:

But just comparing followers for the top accounts doesn’t give us the full picture. How can we try to measure the total engagement for important subjects? I Tried to use these very important hashtags, measuring them for the whole month of November:

  • #HIV
  • #Sustainability
  • #sustainable
  • #green
  • #GlobalWarming
  • #poverty
  • #healthy – to add something that could be also a personal concern

When I added up the average daily tweets associated with all the concerns mention above, I got a total of 24,424. For comparison, this is barely 50% of the tweets associated with @justinbieber seasonal tour “#believetour”.

Hashtag/Cause Daily Tweets Daily Reach Celebrity Hashtag Daily Tweets Daily Reach
#HIV 3,516 32,617,047 #believetour 38,484 133,952,425
#Sustainability 3,051 4,317,860
#sustainable 1,531 2,617,917
#green 9,028 20,223,524
#healthy 4,822 16,001,052
#globalwarming 758 1,972,132
#poverty 1,715 3,015,558
Total 24,424 80,765,090


38,484 133,952,425

Unsurprisingly, the daily reach also had a similar ratio.

I find it shocking to see that most of our society’s interest lies on what celebrities are doing every day: From what gossip the showbiz world is witnessing versus what real issues of our society: Our planet, our health, and helping one another.


But this is also confirmed by Google trends. The volume of searches associated with global warming and deforestation are both decreasing, and they pale when compared for example to One Direction, which is actually moving in only one direction: “UP”!

Why are people ignoring the things that matter most? Are we just choosing to concentrate on what the media wants us to be concentrating on? Did we give up on each other? Did we give up on our own earth?

We should all dedicate some more time to our duties as social beings, share what matters, whenever we see someone asking for help: At least retweet, reshare, raise the awareness. It is just a click away, and that one click makes a world of difference.

Are hashtags too geeky for Google+? A meditated answer to Loic Le Meur

I was able to join Google+ last week, and found it very interesting for three reasons:

  1. Circles
  2. There are mostly early adopters, and this generates some very interesting conversations
  3. It isn’t blocked at my office yet, so I don’t have to resort to dirty tricks to use it like I have to do with facebook – yet

Is it all good then? Of course not, there are many useful features that could be added. But the one I really miss is tags. I fell in love with tags since I first started using (before the yahoo-less-licious days) and were delighted to see them spreading to more and more uses. It’s no coincidence that I created a website completely devoted to (hash)tags!

Today I found out I’m not alone when I stumbled upon a post on G+ about the use of hashtags on G+ itself. After all, the use of hashtags on Twitter started exactly because there wasn’t a tag feature there, like on G+ now. And, as I discovered later, the same Chris Messina who first proposed their adoption on Twitter did the same for G+ just four days ago.

Not everybody agrees, though. Loic Le Meur commented on that same post where I first read about the debate that “hashtags are geeky and they shouldn’t be added to G+”.

I answered that hashtags are geeky, but simple tags aren’t. But, on second thought, the real answer should have been: Hashtags can’t be “added” to G+; they weren’t even “added” to Twitter, only half-heartedly supported after their use became widespread.

So the real question should be: Should tags be added to G+? I definitely think they should; is there any better way to allow the discovery of interesting conversations? And: Are tags too geeky for G+? Considering that they’re also used on Facebook, I guess they really aren’t.

So please, Google, add our beloved tags to G+; and, while you’re at it, also add a sampling streaming API for public messages so that all sorts of interesting research could be done and, why not, so that I could also add the data from G+ to :)