Procurement Tweeters – Purchasing Insight and Frank Rozemeijer identify the leaders

Purchasing Insight, Pete Loughlin’s must-read blog, focuses mainly on purchase-to-pay and e-invoicing matters, but every so often he strays into other, and almost always, interesting territory. Recently he featured this.

Frank Rozemeijer, professor of purchasing and supply management at Maastricht University, has done some really useful research into the use of social media for purchasing pros and as part of that has developed a list of the top tweeps in purchasing. (You can download it via this link)

If you’re into Twitter, it is a most useful prompt for people or organisations you might like to follow. But I had a bit of a debate with Pete around the concept of “influence”. This was calculated based on the ratio of people following you to those you follow. The thinking was that if you have lots of followers, while you only follow a few yourself, you must be influential (Jonathan Ross with 1.6 million followers, follows 5,000 himself – still quite a lot actually but a healthy ratio.)

Whereas if you have lots of both, that may be a sign that you have grown your numbers by doing reciprocal deals with American students and Indian IT guys....

But there is one problem with that argument. Some of the apparent top Tweeters are institutions rather than individuals – CIPS, ISM etc. Understandably, they’re not too interested in following others – they tend to be a means for promoting information from that organisation rather than a "real" Tweeter who supports the community though links, re-tweets, debate etc.

Then there’s “noise” – how many Tweets you produce. Again, a measure with some flaws – there’s nothing more annoying than, say, a magazine say that just Tweets 20 links to articles every time a new issue comes out, then nothing for weeks. Lots of noise, not much of anything else.

The list also misses some people who are active and influential but don’t tweet as procurement people. My friend David Atkinson for example would be well up the top 20 here if he was included; but he doesn’t particularly want to be seen as a “procurement" Tweeter, as you’re more likely to get music, family, politics from him on any given day. However, you could say the same about Mark Perera who is a first class Tweeter, combining some human interest with serious procurement stuff.

Anyway, I’m in there at no. 27 by volume and 13 by influence, even with some boring institutional Tweeters ahead of me! And my Spend Matters US colleagues are number 12 by size and 3rd by influence – very impressive. Let’s see if we can both get into the top ten by next year... do follow me at @gpetersmith.

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Voices (3)

  1. Final Furlong:

    When I first began to Tweet (@Final_Furlong), I followed Ricky Gervais – thousands of followers but follows only a handful (interestingly, Chris Rock was the only comedian).

    However, I soon stopped following Ricky having concluded that, following receipt of an endless stream of tweets alerting us to the banality of his every day life, he was simply an annoying tw@t

  2. Dan:

    I foresee a growth in consultants who tell you how to use Twitter better….

  3. Pete:

    I agree with Peter (or should I say that I’m not going to argue with a mathematician). These measures are useful but flawed.

    I hope that Frank Rozemeijer’s paper goes some way to convince more people that twitter used as a professional tool is effective but it’s a bit like advertising – only bits of it work well and it’s often difficult to tell which bits.

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