Like many of you, I have a complicated relationship with Twitter. I don’t feel good at it, but here I am obsessing over it. I resent feeling like I need to be good at it. That’s a bad way to feel about a relationship you’ve been in for seven years.
Your friends have more friends than you do — this is the rub of social networking. There isn’t a professional I know who is proud of the small size of their Rolodex. It’s no wonder so many in biopharma join Twitter only to abandon it after a few tweets. The default state of their new account advertises to the world that nobody at all follows what you have to say. That doesn’t feel good either.
If you work inside biopharma, I’ll admit there’s not much reason for you to post to Twitter. Yes, there are exceptions and many enjoy a richer career as a result. But it’s not true for a big majority. Most knowledge in biopharma is held in the minds and experiences of people and companies. These are not shared in public.
The beauty of Twitter is that you don’t have to say anything at all.
The dirty secret of Twitter is that it’s dependent on journalists and professional content-creators. We go to Facebook to see timelines of our friends and family. LinkedIn timelines only matter if you’re on a job hunt or recruiting people yourself.
Serious news hounds turn to Twitter because it’s the only serious place to craft a hard news timeline. And it turns out “read-only Twitter” is quite an amazing product. When you tune into the conversations of others, you learn things you didn’t know you needed to know.
Journalists, brands, and bots all rush to post content the moment it’s fit for consumption. Some links have legs, others don’t. It’s an operating system for the dissemination of news and the meta-commentary that follows. This is the top of the public info pyramid. From here these things filter downstream to the 80% of the industry who have no relationship with Twitter.
Plugging your ear into the top of this nerve center gets you closer and faster to this information. Whether this information is good or bad, that’s for you to decide. Like the telephone game, where you tell someone something and it changes downstream, your information is purer the closer it was to the signal. It’s without the color. No analog degradation.
Too much noise
Having asymmetric information is a huge advantage in business, right? You know something somebody else doesn’t, and they don’t have access to those bit of info. This is how it worked in 1990.
In 2016 you can possess asymmetric information that’s freely available to all, but was lost in the digital ether of tweets, press releases, algospam, and Native Ӓdvertising. Information is easily buried in the content swamp. You just can’t see it all.
Now there’s plenty of firms who’ll charge a $10,000 monthly retainer to sift through these tweets, travel obscure parts of the web, travel behind the paywalls, send you a summary, make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. A few lucky biopharma executives enjoy these perks.
What if you’re brand new to biopharma? How about if you’re a seasoned vet but just new to Twitter? How do you know who to follow? Twitter for all intents and purposes is a consumer brand. Despite it being a rich, immediate source of information for drug developers, Twitter the company has no products to onboard such a niche audience.
We love Twitter at Endpoints and want more people in biopharma to enjoy the benefits of it — even as a professional lurker.
Introducing Marco, our newsbot
Last August we quietly launched our viral newsbot@endpts. We recently named it Marco — constantly exploring BioTwitter.
It’s job is to:
- Search for links in every tweet made in a known universe of thousands of BioTwitter accounts;
- Calculate the velocity of each link shared;
- If a link starts moving much faster relative to other links, it’s now trending;
- Marco then visits the link itself and extracts the headline, author, and source. We want our own, independent information about the link.
- Marco then tweets the link. It gives credit with a hat tip [h/t] to the account that it saw tweet the link first.
It’s that last part that forms the basis of this special report: who was the first person to report this news?
Marco has been reading BioTwitter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for almost a a year now. Over this time we can aggregate the hat tips Marco doled out and come up with this exact list.
We guarantee if you follow a healthy segment of this list — you’re plugged into to heart of the link economy on BioTwitter.
What this list is not
Anytime you rank your friends and colleagues there’s bound to be hard feelings. So let me state for the record:
- This is not a list of the best accounts to follow in BioTwitter. Many tweeps never post links and instead contribute with context and analysis. Marco is a few technological revolutions away from being able to understand when someone is being sarcastic or helpful, so it ignores text-only tweets. And that’s often the best part of Twitter.
- This is not a who’s who list. There are plenty of those around and none of them do anything for the person who simply wants to be the best professional lurker on BioTwitter.
- There are no value judgements here. This is a purely data-driven list. Yes, it’s our own propriety data and I’m not likely to divulge the exact manner in which we reduce the firehose of BioTwitter into a trickle. But we’re presenting the data as-is.
Biotech Twitter citizens most frequently credited with posting trending links first
|Over 100 hat tips|
|50 – 99 hat tips|
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John Carroll, Editor and Co-Founder
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