April 3, 2014: Alec Baldwin and Rachel Maddow have been dusting it up lately in the newspaper headlines, and we’re sure that we’ve not heard the last from these two outspoken celebrities on social channels. This article doesn’t answer the question “who’s winning the argument,” only the question “who has a better social infrastructure to win any argument.”
Followers and Likes
Rachel Maddow, with 2,850,000 followers, out-indexes Mr. Baldwin’s 1,101,600 followers by 258 percent, giving Maddow an advantageous a 0.72 Followshare, vs. Mr. Baldwin’s 0.28. (Note: Alec Baldwin maintains two Twitter accounts; the first being his personal account (@alecbaldwin); the second, his charity (@ABFalecbaldwin). Most of the activity is on the latter account, but we aggregated data from both accounts to keep things fair to Mr. Baldwin).
On Facebook, Ms. Maddow is also way ahead. She scored 1,191,408 likes, vs. Mr. Baldwin’s relatively paltry 17,691. To be fair, Mr. Baldwin doesn’t seem to be doing much with his Facebook area these days. Because his area is associated with his personal charity, there may be reasons not to interact on certain topics that he’d otherwise feel free to do on the Twitter page that belongs to himself alone. Neither Mr. Baldwin nor Ms. Maddow had Google Plus Profiles associated with them, so no “plus” or “in circle” behavior could be observed.
Ms. Maddow’s sizable advantage over Mr. Baldwin is doubtless helped by her association with MSNBC, a powerful media organization with strong experience in interactive audience-building. Mr. Baldwin is currently without such strong corporate support. We did not measure audience overlap in this first survey, so it is impossible to say to what degree Ms. Maddow’s advantage might diminish were shared followers to be considered.
Tweetshare measures the relative messaging amplitude, or “share of voice” of any two competitors, and here, Mr. Baldwin had the clear advantage. While Ms. Maddow was no slouch in terms of limited-character media, tweeting 2,586 times, Mr. Baldwin’s 9,175 tweets are testament to his cyber-loquacity.
Tweetshare is not a metric that can indicate whether a given argument is being won, only the relative “loudness” of each arguing voice within Twitter. So while Mr. Baldwin is “louder” on this social platform, it is impossible to know whether his messages are getting through any better than Ms. Maddow’s are without examining the content of all of this messaging, an interesting subject that is outside the scope of this study. Nor do Ms. Maddow’s relatively paltry 2,586 tweets indicate that she is under-serving her Twitter audience, many of whom are likely on Facebook, where she has a much more active presence than Mr. Baldwin.
FFR (Follower to Following Ratio) indicates the relative “exclusivity” of a Twitter persona. Higher FFRs indicate that one is “more in demand,” conversely a lower FFR may indicate a greater willingness to engage an audience through reciprocal (Followback) action.
Alec Baldwin and Rachel Maddow are both A-list celebrities. A-list celebrities tend to have very high FFRs – typically well above 100 (an FFR of 100 indicates that a given persona follows only 1 person for every 100 people who follow the persona).
Still, there are differences in how “exclusive” each of these celebrities is (or wants to appear to be). Mr. Baldwin’s FFR score of 2,353 is almost twice as high as Ms. Maddow’s score of 1,769. While these high scores are consistent with each of these celebrities’ social status, Mr. Baldwin’s super-high FFR score marks him as a man who “is almost impossible to get in touch with.”(Note: the author has met Mr. Baldwin, and he’s definitely not “impossible to get in touch with. But difficult to get on the phone? Most decidedly so.)
What do the numbers add up to? Well, Rachel Maddow has a much larger social media “footprint” than Alec Baldwin, enjoying a two-to-one advantage on Twitter and an almost 100 percent advantage on Facebook. The size and liveliness of her social presence is surely enhanced by support from her employer, MSNBC.
If Alec does have one advantage, it’s in the strong volume of his voice represented by Tweetshare. On Twitter, he’s more than twice as “loud” as Rachel, tweeting a lot more than she does. While it’s impossible to win an argument merely by yelling, being known as someone who messages a lot is consistent with Mr. Baldwin’s contemporary “outsider” branding.
Which celebrity is most approachable, using our FFR metric? Well, both Rachel and Alec have astronomical FFRs (which means that your chances of being followed back from them approach LOTTO-like proportions). But your odds of getting a social response from Rachel are a little better than they are with Alec.
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