I don’t understand Twitter. I had an old account as DougJBalloon where I tried to fuck with people I don’t like, but I used a little too much force and was widely blocked. Now I’m kicking it old-school with a more confusing handle RobertEGalt, and am having a bit more success, though not much more.
Anyhoo, I don’t think number-of-twitter follows is the best metric of anything, but….it’s amazing how many more followers NYT columnists have than WaPo columnists do. It’s not just that the “stars” — KThug, Bobo, Friedman, Kristof — have lots but that even the ones no one reads — Bill Keller, Charles Blow, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat — all have at least 20K, and usually much more than that. At the Post, only Dionne, Milbank, and Robinson — who, along with Will (edit: and Krauthammer) count as the stars — have more followers than John Cole does.
It’s pretty clear that liberal columnists have a lot more followers than conservative ones (Douthat has by far the fewest of anyone at the Times, from what I can tell), but even so, a typical Times columnist seems to have about 10-20 times as many followers as his WaPo counterpart might. The Times stars are mostly over a million, the WaPo stars are more like 50K; the Times nobodies are 20-80K, the WaPo nobodies are 2-6K.
The Post tries to position itself as the calm, sober, centrist, nonpartisan, Burkean editorial page. Looks like no one is interested in reading that kind of shit.
Update. Each paper has “an aggressive Twit-whoring policy for its columnists“. WaPo pushes it a little harder with links to the columnists Twitter feed at the end of every column. Also, the Times circulation is only about triple the Post’s not 10-20 times as large.
Update. Krauthammer is the exception to every rule — he has 250K followers.