In our newspaper study, released earlier today, we developed a formula we call the Twitter Interactivity Quotient (or Twitter IQ for short) as a way of measuring how newspapers were using their accounts.   If tweeting, which consists of original tweets, responses to tweets, and retweeting others’ tweets, is viewed as a conversation, then the tweeting is effectively “talking”, while responses and retweets are evidence of “listening”. And, while not every conversation is equally balanced for a variety of good reasons, it seems reasonable to propose that the best conversationalists are those who cultivate balance over time.

Working off that premise, we combined the percentage of replies and retweets (listening) and subtracted it from 50 percent (a perfect balance). We then subtracted that number from 100% and translated it into a real number between .5 and 1.5, establishing “1” as the ideal balance. Accounts registering a .5 only tweet, accounts registering a 1.5 only reply and retweet, but they are equally out of balance in different directions. The Twitter IQ is the difference between an account’s “balance” and “1”. As such, in an ironic flourish, the lower one’s Twitter IQ, the better. The combined Twitter IQ employed in ranking the newspapers’ is simply the sum of the three applicable accounts. Below is a list of the newspapers who had the best aggregate Twitter IQ scores, meaning the three accounts we examined had the best overall balance between listening and talking. Please note that these results should be taken with a grain of salt, as we didn’t look at every single Twitter account for each newspaper.

Newspaper Circulation Twitter IQ
1. The Sun 210,098 0.0921
2. Austin American-Statesman 152,691 0.2834
3. St. Paul Pioneer Press 192,342 0.4807
4. The Florida Times-Union 122,655 0.4909
5. The Detroit News 169,748 0.5213
6. Chicago Tribune 501,202 0.5997
7. Democrat and Chronicle 135,776 0.6075
8, The Buffalo News 173,925 0.6159
9. Orlando Sentinel 206,205 0.6617
10. The Commercial Appeal 192,631 0.6620

Here is the list of the specific accounts we looked at that have the best Twitter IQ scores.

Twitter IQ Rank Twitter Accounts Twitter URL Followers Twitter IQ
1 Alesha Williams Boyd 145 0.00000
2 Omar Gallaga, Digital Savant 3,652 0.00060
3 Sophia Ahmad 2,243 0.00720
4 Julio Ojeda-Zapata 7,689 0.01300
5 Bethany Clough, Business Blog 320 0.01380
6 Walt Mossberg 24,773 0.01700
7 Michelle Deal-Zimmerman 1,349 0.01730
8 Gus Sentementes 1,601 0.02360
9 MichMoms 1,004 0.03020
10 Los Angeles Times 38,845 0.03500

See our full rankings of the newspapers in aggregate, and the individual accounts themselves, at the link below.

Update: We decided to remove the list of the lowest ranking accounts, since it wasn’t our intention to bring negative attention to those with low scores.