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The top 100 most influential Belgian journalists on Twitter

FINN analysed the Klout score of some 100 Belgian journalists

(editor's note: we used a mash up of about 5 different "journalist" lists on Twitter. If you feel you should be on the list, drop us a line, please).

Klout is a social media monitoring tool that aims to measure and quantify ‘influence’. Klout measures three dimensions of influence:

1. Network influence. The “influence level” of your engaged audience. Of course, the more influential your audience is, the more influential you are.

2. Amplification probability. It’s no use to have your influential audience nod in agreement with what you say. Your message should have a strong call to action embedded. The more your message is spread – retweeted, commented on, replied to – the more influence you wield.

3. True reach – the size of your ‘engaged audience’. This means that Klout removes all spam accounts from your followers, and only measures people who are really, actually interested in you. It measures things like: are you being added to lists (and are these lists being followed).

Interesting: Klout seems to penalise Twitter users who follow a lot of people, probably because a lot of people automatically follow anyone who follows them. Klout tries to correct for this 'influence bartering'. This means that Klout considers you to be more influential when your Twitter following is asymmetrical: if you follow a small number of people, but are followed by a great many people, Klout considers you to be influential. More information on how Klout measures influence here.

Like all attempts to quantify something as vague as influence, one can debate the merits of Klout score. Still, there’s some interesting points to make about how journalists can gain influence.

1. Influencers are specialists

If you want to become influential, pick a specific topic. Sports is obviously a good bet - and cycling even more so. Of the top 10 Belgian journalists, no less than 3 accounts are directly linked to cycling: Karl Vannieuwkerke (@vannieuwkerke), André Meganck (@andremeganck) and Renaat Schotte (@wielerman). I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that Lance Armstrong was one of the early adopters of Twitter, thereby practically forcing cycling journalists onto the social network. This cycling bias on Twitter is especially clear given the complete absence of a top football commentator on the list.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this cycling bias in Klout ranking has something to do with the fact that the racing season is in full swing right now. From March onward, it’s the ‘Classics’ season, with high profile races like the Giro, Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. As we write, the cycling world is building up to the Tour de France. It seems logical that cycling tweets would be more retweeted and replied to during the high season of cycling. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that an important dimension of influence is 'timeliness' – the fact that your chosen field is more prominent in the news cycle amplifies your voice – just like in traditional media. We’ll have to check the ranking again somewhere in November to see if the top 10 is still dominated by cycling journalists.

In any case it's clear that being a specialist helps to become influential. Political journalists, for instance, are overwhelmingly more influential as a group than other journalists: @vadderi, @barteeckhout, @cauwelaert, @samynwetstraat, @le_bux, @coolskat and @listraet are all political journalists. Even at times of political standstill, people seem very interested in political news. Of course, politics has a news cycle that was made for Twitter: it’s fast and relentless, and it’s not only important to know who said what, but also when and to whom.

Foreign correspondents seem to profit from this 'specialist' effect too. (like @liavanbekhoven, @tomvandeweghe, @obk).

2. Television and radio trump print

Being on television or radio clearly doesn’t hurt, especially when covering ‘hot topics’. This goes for @vadderi, @coolskat and @listraet, obviously, political journalists at VRT, who generally rank slightly higher than their print counterparts.

@liavanbekhoven is a UK correspondent for the Belgian and Dutch national radio – and her follower graph saw a huge uptick in the months leading up to the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and prince William. (Not to do her injustice, it’s quite clear that her Klout score derives strongly from her presence in two markets – the Netherlands and Belgium).

3. 'Real world' influence doesn't automatically translate into social media influence

It’s also instructive to see who doesn’t make the top 100. One would expect editors in chief to wield quite some influence. This doesn’t seem to be the case on Twitter. @cauwelaert (Rik Van Cauwelaert, former editor in chief Knack – a political commentator nowadays), @pvdmeersch (Peter Vandermeersch, formerly De Standaard, now NRC Handelsblad), @bartsturtewagen (Bart Sturtewagen, De Standaard) are present on the list, but @woverschelden (Wouter Verschelden, editor in chief De Morgen), @dskarel (Karel Verhoeven, editor in chief De Standaard with Bart Sturtewagen), @krishoflack (VRT) and @ericgoens (formerly VTM) don’t make the top 100.

@yvesd (Yves Desmet) barely makes the top 100, while Walter Pauli, one of De Morgen’s top opinion makers, falls just outside the top 100 (#107). Judging from their Twitter streams, I would guess that they are just not active enough on Twitter. ‘Old media’ influence doesn’t automatically translate in Twitter influence: it’s hard work.

On the other hand, this presents an opportunity as well: with some dedication and effort, less known experts can become heavyweight influencers. In some ways, it seems that social media do level the playing field.


(Rank, Klout score, Twitter name)

Follow the list on Twitter: Top 100 BE Journalists.

1. 66 vannieuwkerke

2. 61 hansderidder

3. 61 liavanbekhoven

4. 59 andremeganck

5. 59 abeelec

6. 59 wielerman (Renaat Schotte)

7. 58 alaingerlache

8. 57 marcelsel

9. 57 vadderi

10. 56 stvn

11. 56 obk

12. 55 filletk

13. 55 jslefebvre

14. 54 cauwelaert

15. 54 davanac

16. 53 michelhenrion

17. 53 le_bux

18. 53 sbailly

19. 53 mdevrieze

20. 52 bartvanbelle

21. 52 nanske

22. 52 kristofvds

24. 51 harald1989

25. 51 johannemontay

26. 50 dropje

27. 50 coolskat

28. 50 samynwetstraat

29. 50 listraet

30. 50 tomnaegels

31. 49 gemarkeerd

32. 49 fakerholic

33. 49 barteeckhout

34. 49 samfeys

35. 49 my_l

36. 48 rikea

37. 48 philbruafp

38. 48 kevin_major

39. 48 pvangompel

40. 48 frederiktibau

41. 47 grosfilley

42. 47 jandemol

43. 47 philaloux

44. 47 tomvandeweghe

45. 47 ezraeeman

46. 47 raphaelcockx (de tijd)

47. 47 nonkelsam (De Standaard). 

48. 46 blyaert (datanews)

49. 46 bartsturtewagen

50. 46 chrisvandegoor (sporza)

51. 46 anne_elle_be

52. 46 fdelaplace

53. 46 pvdmeersch

54. 46 marclooverbosch

55. 45 pieterjanvl

56. 45 mensbrugghe

57. 45 jamiebiese

58. 45 mehmetkoksal

59. 45 valerie_s_

60. 45 italbers

61. 45 gdcoster

62. 45 timverheyden

63. 45 rolandlegrand

64. 45 codip

65. 45 jandebackere

66. 45 matthdv

67. 44 rafweverbergh

68. 44 tgadisseux

69. 44 peterdelobel

70. 44 jdceulaer

71. 44 maartendegendt

72. 44 cowboy_carl

74. 44 guitariosott

75. 43 ninaism

76. 43 cedricgodart

76bis. 43 B_R_E_G_T (Bregt Vermeulen, Voetbalmagazine)

76tris. 43 ShowbizzBart

77. 42 himad

78. 42 mariodanneels

79. 42 fr3db

80. 42 corinebarella

81. 42 jonasmuylaert

82. 41 heirbar

83. 41 bartstoffels

84. 41 heidischoefs

85. 41 zeli

86. 41 goedeleliekens

87. 41 slemlevrai

88. 41 roelverrycken

89. 41 petergorle

90. 40 koenvervloesem

91. 40 brunokon

92. 40 ddeckmyn

93. 40 mediarescue

94. 40 cedricpt

95. 40 karst

96. 40 frankrenout

97. 39 hvangool

98. 39 joanroels

99. 39 yvesd

100. 39 bartdobbelaere  


UPDATE @nonkelsam (Sam Delbeke, Klout score 47) was added to the list, as well as @B_R_E_G_T aka Bregt Vermeulen (Klout score 43) and @showbizzbart, who - as we were informed - works as a journalist for Story Magazine and has official press credentials! Also, it was brought to our attention that M. Minneboo is a Dutch Twitterer and as such has no place on the list.