Using Big Data to Identify the Biggest Influencers in Big Data

If the title of this article caught your attention, chances are you work with big data, have an interest in big data, or perhaps you’ve made our list of the Biggest Influencers in Big Data!

We used Affinio – the global audience strategy platform – to uncover who the biggest influencers are in big data. Many "Influencer" lists use vanity metrics and basic demographic audience data to identify who is influential. While some of these lists take into account more advanced scores, there is still a key component missing: the audience.

Affinio’s approach is entirely different. Our difference is in the graph. Affinio’s custom graph engine and machine learning algorithms allow you to get to know any audience intimately by understanding who they are through their interests, affinities, and the content they share and consume. Instead of relying on gut vanity metrics, users can identify relevant influencers using Affinio’s custom and defensible scores.

The Analysis

To begin our analysis, we created a query that would analyze the audience of anyone who tweeted “bigdata” OR “big data” - or - included the words “bigdata” or “big data” in their Twitter bio. The audience query identified over 69,000 individuals who met this criterion during a 30-day study period.

Affinio then analyzed billions of data points and the connections between the audience. The audience was segmented into six interest-based segments, based on their shared interests, affinities, and the content they consume. Below is a data visualization of how the audience was segmented.

For the purposes of this exercise, we decided to focus on the interest-based community of “Big Data Professionals” and identify who the biggest influencers are in the segment.

How to Interpret the Visualization

Each cluster of colored nodes represents each interest-based community. The more nodes, the bigger the community. The lines between the nodes represent follower relationships. The more lines, the more people in the community are likely to know each other or are connected.

Who are the biggest influencers in big data?

Referring to the Interests section on the Affinio platform, we are able to identify the top 1000 contextually-relevant accounts to the Big Data Professionals segment.

Ranked in order of their Relevance Score, we can easily identify the individuals, brands, organizations, and more that are making an impact with this audience. Affinio's custom Relevance Score measures, from 0-100, those interests that are most likely to be relevant to this community based on affinity, audience size, and the number of community members who already follow the particular account.

Below is a grid of the top 1000 Twitter accounts relevant to the Big Data Professionals segment.

Image: Affinio Platform – Top Interests of Big Data Professionals

Refining our search further, we then excluded brands, organizations, and more to hone-in on who the individuals are that are highly influential:

  1. Kirk Bone, Principal Data Scientist and Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton

  2. Ronald van Loon, Director at Adversitement

  3. Lillian Pierson, Freelance Data Scientist, Trainer & Coach at Data-Mania, LLC

  4. Ben Lorica, Chief Data Scientist at O'Reilly Media

  5. Doug Laney, VP and Distinguished Analyst, Chief Data Officer Research at Gartner

  6. Hilary Mason, Founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs

  7. Bernard Marr, Founder and CEO of the Advanced Performance Institute

  8. Carla Gentry, Data Scientist at Talent Analytics

  9. Merv Adrian, Vice President at Gartner

  10. Marcus Borba, CTO of Spark Science & Information


If you're interested in Big Data and the latest insights from this community, these are the thought leaders you need to follow and engage with. . . all found using BIG DATA!

Congratulations to the influencers featured on the list! If you're interested in learning more about @Affinio and how we are disrupting advertising, drop us a line.