Twitter's user growth is too slow. It has yet to turn a profit. It's made major product tweaks that have angered some of its most loyal users.
Twitter is one of today's most criticized tech companies, and perhaps rightfully so. Twitter's user growth pales in comparison to Facebook (307 million vs. 1.6 billion), and even Instagram has overtaken Twitter with its 400 million users. And not to mention Google, which has seven products with more than 1 billion users.
But there's no denying the cultural impact of Twitter, and how it has changed the way we communicate and gather news. It helped spark the Arab Spring, gave a voice to movements like #blacklivesmatter, and changed the way we watch live TV.
Twitter helps communities come together, and it's evident here in the Chicago tech community where entrepreneurs, developers, investors, and other tech enthusiasts flock to the social network to share ideas, break news, and discuss the ins and outs of Chicago's startup scene.
To get a sense for who the Chicago tech movers and shakers are on Twitter, we asked social media marketing firm Little Birdto find the tech community's biggest "influencers." Little Bird's software analyzes Twitter to map "influencer networks" and generates a ranked list of the most impactful users within certain community groups (Little Bird did a similar list for Fortune to help analyze Donald Trump's bizarre tweets).
Little Bird analyzed the connections between 2,000 technologists in Chicago to come up with its top 50 list. The list isn't a ranking of the most popular people, but rather a measure of how connected they are to others in the tech community. Little Bird finds the people in a group that are most followed by others in the same group, explained founder Marshall Kirkpatrick, who said list is a measure of "earned influence within a specific context.”
The list also isn't an indication of the quality of tweets. Some of the people on the list might rank highly as influencers, but they actually tweet rather infrequently. The list serves as a rundown of the people in Chicago tech who are most connected and most influential among their peers. (We also asked Little Bird to filter for only people, so the list doesn't include accounts like 1871, the ISTC, Built In Chicago, etc.)
Below you can see Little Bird's list, along with a sample tweet we've pulled from the user that we thought was smart/funny/weird/interesting.
1. Howard Tullman--CEO of 1871
2. Kevin Willer--VC at Chicago Ventures
3. Jason Fried--Founder and CEO of Basecamp.com.
4. Seth Kravitz--Founder of Technori
5. Tom Alexander--COO of 1871
6. John Pletz--Tech Reporter at Crain's Chicago
7. Harper Reed--Head of Commerce at Braintree; founded Modest; former CTO at Obama for America
8. Ann Dwyer--Managing Editor at Crain's Chicago
10. Katy Lynch--Entrepreneur and investor. Founder of SocialKaty, and former CEO of Techweek
11. Maria Katris--CEO of Built In Chicago
12. Fred Hoch--CEO of the Illinois Technology Association
13. Paul Lee--CEO & Co-Founder of RONIIN
14. Nicole Yeary--Founder and President of Ms. Tech
16. Logan LaHive--Co-Founder and CEO of Belly
18. Guy Turner--VC at Hyde Park Venture Partners
20. Matt Maloney--Founder of GrubHub
21. Eric Lefkofsky--Chairman and Co-founder of Groupon, Co-founder of InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics,Mediaocean, and Uptake.
22. Jimmy Odom--Senior Policy Advisor at Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity; Founder orWeDeliver
23. Chuck Templeton--Entrepreneur and investor. Founder of OpenTable
24. Rishi Shah--Co-founder and CEO of ContextMedia
25. Melissa Harris--VP of Origin Investments; Former reporter at the Chicago Tribune
26. Amina Elahi--Reporter at Blue Sky
27. Adam Koopersmith--VC at Pritzker Group Venture Capital
28. Kristi Dula--Network Relationship Manager at Pritzker Group Venture Capital
29. Jason Heltzer--VC at Origin Ventures
31. Justyn Howard--CEO of Sprout Social
32. Andy Crestodina--Web strategist and co-founder of Orbit Media
33. Daniel X. O'Neil--Executive Director of Smart Chicago
34. Andrea Hanis--Editor at Blue Sky
35. Mike McGee--Founder of the Starter League
36. Amanda Lannert--CEO of Jellyvision
37. Dave Hoover--Founder of Dev Bootcamp
38. Lon Chow--Managing Director at Sandbox Industries
39. Ira Weiss--VC at Hyde Park Venture Partners
40. Steven Collens--CEO at MATTER
41. Tom Schenk Jr.--City of Chicago Chief Data Officer
42. Adrian Holovaty--Founder of Everyblock and Soundslice, web developer, and co-creator of the Django web framework
44. Dan Sinker--Heads up the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, author of the @MayorEmanuel parody Twitter account
45. Jill Salzman--Founder of The Founding Moms
46. James Janega--Innovation and insights consultant at Slalom Consulting, former Blue Sky Reporter
47. John Tolva--President of PositivEnergy Practice, former CTO of City of Chicago
48. Jeffery Carter--Angel investor, Co-founder of Hyde Park Angels
49. Jeff Judge--Founder of Bright, Co-founder of Signal50. Eric Lunt--CTO of Signal, Co-founder and CTO of FeedBurner