University measures what’s truly influential in the Twitterverse with Pulse of the Tweeters

PulseAn American university has created, a website that tracks trending topics, then reveals whose opinions are actually influential.

Results? It’s not the celebs with legions of followers like Lady Gaga and Ashton Kutcher.

Ramanathan Narayanan is a student at Northwestern University, and it was their thesis project that inspired Pulse of the Tweeters. Ramanathan says the site’s algorithm checks not only who’s tweeting about specific subjects, but also measures who follows people specifically for those specific subjects.

Ramanathan cites British Petroleum for an example. “If someone from BP is tweeting about the oil spill … his opinions are likely to carry much more weight and be of much greater interest than those of Ashton Kutcher.”

The website claims to filter out bots and spammers, ranking them at the bottom, and plans to track more metrics down the road.