The Twitter feeds you need

It’s hard to imagine that just six years ago we were living in a world without Twitter. Pól Ó Conghaile asks top Irish tweeters for their favourite follows — and lists the 20 people everyone should be following.

The Twitter feeds you need

Keith Barry | @keithpbarry

Followers: 29,182

Twitter Bio: As a student of human behaviour, I hack into people’s minds…

1. Ted Talks | @TEDTalks “I absolutely love TED talks and the information contained therein. I make it my business to watch one a day so @TEDTalks is a great way to keep up to date with the latest talks. My own talk is currently ranked #14 worldwide, which is something I am hugely proud of…”

2. Dave Moore | @Dave98fm “Dave manages to find amazing, funny and sometimes (but not always) informative content to tweet about. Always puts a smile on my face…”

3. Paul Byrne | @Bodybyrnr “Paul posts some amazing tips on nutrition, exercise and diet on his twitter page. I’ve used a lot of them and can see the results…”

Rosanna Davison | @rosanna_davison

Followers: 22,215

Twitter Bio: Former Miss World, model, columnist, book illustrator, nutrition student, gym bunny, nerd…’

1. RTE News | @rtenews “For the most up-to-date news from Ireland & abroad…”

2. Kimberly Snyder | @KimsBeautyDetox “For her wealth of information, and advice on natural health & nutrition — I’m studying naturopathic nutrition and biochemistry so her tips are brilliant and apply to my course.”

3. Ricky Gervais | @rickygervais “Cheeky and funny tweets. Plus I enjoy his humorous observations…”

Rick O’Shea | @rickoshea

Followers: 22,230

Twitter Bio: Analogue human, here occasionally. @RTE2fm weekdays from 2pm. National patron of @Brainwave_Irl. Celebrity Mastermind

2012. No, seriously...

1. Damien Mulley | @damienmulley “Because he’s the pivot around which the interweb turns. No, seriously.

He’s more clued up on social media than anyone I know and his instincts are usually spot on.”

2. Stewart Curry | @irishstu “He’s the source of more interesting nonsense stuff online for the show than almost anyone else, and has fine facial hair.”

3. Kitty Catastrophe | @redlemonader “Even if only for her extensive, very, very funny examinations of Fifty Shades Of Grey...”

Irish Mammies | @irishmammies

Followers: 43,012

Twitter Bio: Musha they wouldn’t be a bit interested in my life story at all. Be sure and tell them what you got in the Leaving [AKA Colm O’Regan].

1. Colm O’Regan | @colmoregan “I suppose I have to follow the young lad. Of course I wouldn’t get half the references — is it Hash Tags they are called? And some of the language wouldn’t be to my liking, I can tell you. I’m told that there’s a market for that kind of thing. God knows, tis hard for the young people to get work out there. He had a degree and everything, you know.”

2. Miriam O’Callaghan | @MiriamOCal “Ah Miriam is great altogether. I don’t know HOW she manages with all that she has on her plate. EIGHT children imagine, and she always has them turned out grand.”

3. Met Eireann | @meteireann “We’d be lost only for the weather forecast especially now the way the seasons are gone half-quare with this Global Warming or whatever you call it.”

Professor John Crown | @ProfJohnCrown

Followers: 4,425 Twitter Bio: Medl school UCD. Graduated MB BCh BAO 1980, BSc 1981. MBA 1999 Cons Oncologist St. Vincent’s Hosp 1993-present. Elected Seanad representing NUI 2011.

1. Veronica Walsh | @VCurrentAffairs “Very informed and witty…”

2. Constantin Gurdgiev | @GTCost “For the debates between him and Brian Lucey (@BrianMLucey)…”

3. TheJournal.ie | @journal_ie “I follow The Huffington Post and Journal.ie to keep up with the news, at home and abroad… I also have BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. I get most news from Twitter.”

Niamh Shields | @eatikeagirl

Followers: 19,011 Twitter Bio: Food, travel, wine, music, dancing. Blogging, writing, cooking, teaching cooking. That kind of thing! Cookbook Comfort & Spice out now :)

1. Shaun Usher | @lettersofnote “Twitter account for the utterly charming Letters of Note blog which describes itself as correspondence deserving of a wider audience. Every day a new letter is tweeted and some from the archive, currently totalling 804, from a letter from an old slave to his old master to Gene Wilder’s letter to the director of Willy Wonka…”

2. Graham Linehan | @glinner “Writer of Fr Ted and The IT Crowd is brilliant on Twitter. Funny and clever, he tweets randomness, humour and also occasional political commentary…”

3. India Knight | @indiaknight “She’s entertaining, topical and never holds back. Also really into food, which obviously interests me…”

Seán Moncrieff | @moncrieff

Followers: 29,941 Twitter Bio: I’m a handy kitchen utensil.

1. Colm Tobin | @colmtobin “As he points out himself, not the writer of the same name. But a very funny and astute twitterer. He is, indeed, the Colm Tobin of Twitter…”

2. The Journal | @thejournal_ie “A very good source for quick news first thing in the morning…”

3. ‘Professor’ Gwyn Grey | @GreySkyThinking “The most followed accounts on Twitter tend to be idiotic celebrities or motivational/inspirational ‘thought for the day’ tweets about mindfulness and living in the moment: when the truth is that most people are on Twitter to avoid what they should be thinking about. Grey Sky Thinking is the opposite of this, and, in my view, very inspirational.”

Eleanor McEvoy | @eleanormcevoy

Followers: 2,807 Twitter Bio: Musician, performer and songwriter. Thoughts, words and news.

1. Helen O’Rahilly | @TellyDubby “A former BBC and RTE producer/ executive who comments on news, television, and just about anything really. Witty, informed and intelligent observations that at times will have you laughing out loud…”

2. Colm O’Gorman | @colmogorman “He’s the director of Amnesty International Ireland, but he tweets in a personal capacity. Informative tweets about goings on both here and abroad. Not all serious heavy stuff though, tweets can be very funny, particularly when he gets into dialogue with other twitterers...”

3. Peter Donegan | @DoneganGardens “I Just started following Peter, he gave me some great advice about my vegetable patch when my potatoes got blight. He tweets on a wide range of subjects, particularly ‘eco’ friendly issues and also shares my passion for coffee!” Eleanor McAvoy’s latest album, Alone, is out now.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan | @lukeming

Followers: 8,526 Twitter Bio: TD, Roscommon/South Leitrim

1. Constantin Gurdgiev | @GTCost “If you want to follow what’s going on in the whole world of economics, he’s the man to follow… to say he’s prolific would be an understatement, I don’t’ know how he tweets so much!”

3. TheJournal.ie | @journal_ie “They really are on the ball when it comes to online news…”

3. NAMA Winelake | @namawinelake “Excellent for a serious amateur like me when it comes to economics. It’s an anonymous blog, but it offers phenomenal insights into things, and angles you wouldn’t expect… Maybe they talk rubbish, but to me it appears like commonsense!”

Damien Mulley | @damienmulley

Followers: 29,522 Twitter Bio: I make companies and people famous on the Internet. Views are my employer’s… 1. Morning Ireland (Radio One) | @Morning_ireland “They tell us what is coming up, respond to questions from people in Twitterland, and also link to the Player for catch up if we missed a topic. A great resource. I just wish they got rid of the underscore…”

2. William Gibson | @GreatDismal “The man who coined the term cyber-space. Gibson lives about 10 minutes in the future from what I can tell and is fascinated by drones and non-military use of them which as he predicted is growing.”

3. The Universe | @TheUNlVERSE (NB: the ‘i’ is actually a small ‘L’) “This account randomly replies to people that mention the universe in a tweet. Sample tweet: “Oh please universe, be nice to me. Reply: “NOT TODAY. NOT EVER.”

Sally McKenna | @bridgestoneEd

Followers: 4,042 Twitter Bio: Publisher, Bridgestone Guides, lifeskills.ie

1. Paul Flynn | @paulflynn “Paul is chef at The Tannery in Dungarvan, and is always amusing, especially in the banter with his wife Máire (@tanneryDungarva) He is also modest and informative.”

2. Con Trass | @theapplefarmer “He always has something to add to a conversation. A farming philosopher with a broad overview of any discussion that might come up.”

3. Martijn Kajuiter | @Kajuiter “Great banter between his head chef Kwanghi Chan (@Kwanghi_) and GM at the Cliff House Hotel Adrian Baartels (@CliffHouseHotel). Sometimes you can feel the heat in that kitchen…”

Henry Healy @henryhealy [@BarackObama’s eighth cousin]

Followers: 1,617 Twitter Bio: Parish Activation Leader with @irelandxo1.

1. The Obama Diary | @theobamadiary “This account allows me follow the president daily & helps me when I’m talking about Obama and his policies…”

2. TheJournal.ie | @journal_ie “They keep me up to date on all news stories, from the weird and fascinating to the serious!”

3. Jim Sheridan @Jim_Sheridan “For the comedy value, he doctors pictures to make light of serious news stories!

Dan Boyle | @sendboyle

Followers: 14,615 Twitter Bio: Director, Green Foundation Ireland

1. The Onion | @theonion “My re-tweets are mood dependent and my sense of humour is a bit offbeat, so I re-tweet a lot from the American [satirical news ] site TheOnion.com.”

2. Discovery News | @Discovery_News “To get people thinking I tweet science-based, largely environmental links from DiscoveryNews. It’s linked with the television channel…”

3. The Green Party | @greenparty_ie “Given the political animal in me and the need to point score, I often re-tweet the Green Party...”

Eric Lalor | @ericlalor

Followers: 2,969 Twitter Bio: Irish Stand-up of the Year 2011, as voted by readers of entertainment.ie — now doing some acting too. I love everyone. I’m doing a gig near you real soon…

1. Johnny Candon | @johnnycandon “Johnny is an Irish standup. He has even supported Ricky Gervais on tour.”

2. Off the Ball | @secondcaptains “Newstalk’s Off the Ball is the best Irish radio programme, bar none.”

3. Darragh Doyle | @darraghdoyle “A mover and shaker of all things social media and events. If something is on and needs checking out, follow this.”

10 Irish to follow on Twitter…

Rory McIlroy | @McIlroyRory

Followers: 1,169,046 Why: As he says himself, “I hit a little white ball around a field sometimes.” On Twitter, Ireland’s top golfer talks about his game with candour and likeability. Not an easy mix.

Sample Tweet: “Big congrats to Ernie [Els]!! 4 time major champion! Know how Adam [Scott] feels right now, not a great place, but he will be back! Too good not to be!”

Dara O’Briain | @daraobriain

Followers: 1,021,642 Why: Funny as hell. And he has been known to hand out free puppies. Sample Tweet: “Of course, the one thing we can’t learn from scientists is good microphone technique. Lads, Jesus, enough with waving your hands around…”

Jedward | @planetjedward

Followers: 667,049 Why: Ah, sure why not. Anybody who tries to criticise or analyse the Grimes twins ends up looking like a complete arse anyway, so just pipe down and follow… Sample Tweet: “Why play ping pong when you can chill out and ding dong...”

Evanna Lynch | @Evy_Lynch

Followers: 385,247 Why: Louth girl Evanna played Luna in the Harry Potter films, and she has more followers than Bono and Ronan Keating combined. A Twitter magician at work… Sample Tweet: “Why must journalists always quiz actresses about fashion? It’s a totally separate industry. It’s ok to not care about clothes y’know.”

Graham Linehan | @glinner

Followers: 201,288 Why: The Father Ted writer/director is funny, that goes without saying. But he’s also social media-savvy, a prolific and outspoken tweeter, and a big online influencer.

Sample Tweet: “Celebrities who don’t follow anyone! You have in your possession a magic mirror, and you’re just using it as a mirror!”

David McWilliams | @davidmcw

Followers: 64,160 Like him or loathe him, the outspoken economist has a talent for soundbites, cutting to the chase, and generating controversy.

All of which Twitter loves. Sample Tweet: “We should be down on bended knee thanking Spanish and Italian negotiators. That’s how poker is played. Wonder will the Germans wear it?”

George Hook | @ghook

Followers: 50,202 Why: The irascible rugby pundit and Newstalk presenter is a Twitter natural — promoting himself and giving short shrift to almost everyone else… in a good way.

Sample Tweet: “I tried the “remorse” defence with the guard that caught me speeding near Ballinaslo [sic] — it did not work!!”

Marian Keyes | @MarianKeyes

Followers: 17,447 Why: It’s often a criticism of Tweeters with ‘profile’ that they broadcast rather than engage. You could never say that about Marian Keyes — as her hugely loyal following attests.

Sample Tweet: “Why? Why? Why they have EVERY bra size in WHOLE world except mine?! Are they hiding them on me? *WAILS* Is this a candid camera joke?”

Colm Tobin | @colmtobin

Followers: 17,966 Why: Not to be confused with author Colm Tóibín (“I am also not, for instance, Eleanor Roosevelt,” as he points out), the comedy writer and TV producer commands a huge number of followers given his lack of any celebrity whatsoever. Why? In a nutshell: he’s funny.

Sample Tweet: “I’ll be in Seattle later this evening. Going to check out some of this new “grunge” music that everyone is talking about.”

Sinead O’Connor | @NoMansWoman

Followers: 1,107 Why: Sinead has relatively few followers because she keeps changing accounts. But when she gets going, and provided you follow her before she gets gone again, sparks really fly.

Sample Tweet: “Article will be going on my site shortly please re-tweet. Then me have to skip twitter sadly. Too many papers having free lunch.”

... and 10 international celebrity twitterers

Stephen Fry | @stephenfry

Followers: 4,621,132 Why: There’s not much you can say about Stephen Fry that Stephen Fry hasn’t already said about Stephen Fry. Twitter Bio: “British Actor, Writer, Lord of Dance, Prince of Swimwear and Blogger.” Touché.

Sample Tweet: “Many people don’t like Alistair Campbell, but I do admire the way on a plane he accepts a [Daily] Mail and then quietly rips it up and returns it.”

Barack Obama | @BarackObama

Followers: 18,105,466 Why: The US President’s account is run by campaign staff, but watch out for rare posts signed ‘bo’. They’re from POTUS himself. The below has been re-tweeted 62,000 times.

Sample Tweet: “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Caitlin Moran | @caitlinmoran

Followers: 257,491 Why: “A woman, yes. But still funny.” That short Twitter Bio is your 101 on Caitlin Moran, the witty and wonderful author of How to be a Woman.

Sample Tweet: “In New York celebrating the book going in at EIGHT! on the NYT Best Seller List, and saying “Vagina” on the Today show.”

Lady Gaga | @ladygaga

Followers: 27,850,292 Why: She’s the most popular person on Twitter in the world, ever. Fast approaching 30 million followers (on the back of just over 1,600 tweets), Gaga rules the roost.

Sample Tweet: “Hangover, : (help. Woke up cuddling my weave like a teddy bear and there’s chicken and waffles in the bed. Need a gym and a salon.”

Paul Kagame | @PaulKagame

Followers: 72,002 Why: Here’s something you don’t see every day. A world leader who personally replies to tweets. Rwanda’s President isn’t shy of expressing an opinion, either.

Sample Tweet: “This Congo thing has become something of a black-hole, that swallows all kinds of truth...!”

Piers Morgan | @piersmorgan

Followers: 2,480,595 Why: The UK Independent calls him “Twitter’s celeb provoker-in-chief ” with everyone from Madge to Michael Owen on the hitlist. No danger of an intern running the Twitter account here. Sample Tweet: “Welcome to Twitter [Madonna]. You’re still banned from my show. Love Piers X.”

Sarah Palin | @SarahPalinUSA

Followers: 812,264 Why: Though not as active on Twitter as she is on Facebook, with 3.4m friends, Palin is well capable of detonating things in 140 characters. In short, because she’s Sarah Palin. Sample Tweet: “Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.”

Rio Ferdinand | @rioferdy5

Followers: 3,119,129 Why: Christian Ronaldo has millions more followers, but Klout rates Rio’s influence higher… indeed as one of the highest in sport. Why? Just ask Ashley Cole. Sample Tweet: “Twitter is 1 ruthless place at times...if you can’t take the heat in here then...get ya coat! Cor blimey #ThickSkin.”

Pete Cashmore | @mashable

Followers: 2,955,197 Why: Every techie person has their favourite follows, but for the less connected of the connected generation, Mashable is great source of news and, erm, sources. The account carries founder Pete Cashmore’s name, but is updated by Mashable staffers.

Sample Tweet: “See which Olympic sport has Twitter buzzing most…”

Alain de Botton | @alaindebotton

Followers: 240,816 Why: The author and philosopher milks Twitter’s haiku-like format to the max, rolling out nugget after nugget of wisdom and observation. Dry, yes. But strangely satisfying.

Sample Tweet: “There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”

Global top twitterati

Justin Bieber | @justinbieber — 25,936,459

Katy Perry | @katyperry — 24,285,010

Rihanna | @rihanna — 23,537,315

Brittany Spears | @brittanyspears — 19,146,969

Barack Obama | @BarackObama — 18,106,826

Shakira | @shakira — 17,535,436

Taylor Swift | @taylorswift13 — 16,957,840

Kim Kardashian | @kimkardashian — 15,603,489

YouTube | @YouTube — 14,580,721

Source: Twittercounter.com (correct as of Aug 2, 2012)

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