Lady Gaga might have more Twitter followers than anyone else, but some new insights from Twitter itself suggest that she’s not the most influential.

In fact, she’s not even up there in the upper echelon of most influential tweeters. Neither are Justin Bieber, Britney Spears or even Barack Obama.

The most influential tweeters appear to be religious leaders, many of whom are evangelical Christians with large offline followings.

Robin Sloan, a Twitter employee, asked himself the question “Why are some tweets more popular than others?” ten months ago. And he got his answer.

According to the New York Times, Sloan explored retweet and @mention data surrounding a set of tweets that were “punching way above their weight.” But he didn’t recognize the names of the tweeters as pop stars, executives, actors or sports stars.


Rather than celebrities or business leaders, it was Christian leaders like Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and Andy Stanley who were sending waves through the Twitter-verse, their tweets averaging 30 time more interaction than tweets from Lady Gaga, despite the latter’s 25 million follower count.

With just under a million followers, Joyce Meyer is packing quite a punch with every tweet she sends, getting 170 reactions per 50,000 followers on average. Compare that to Justin Bieber’s 59 reactions for every 50,000 followers (and his 22.6 million follower count), and you’ll begin to see just how influential religious messages are on Twitter.

And Twitter is actively trying to court other religious leaders not yet on Twitter to capitalize on this influence. They’re sending senior executive Claire Díaz-Ortiz on a mission to bring religious leaders in the Atlanta area and across the country into the Twitter flock.

So despite the facts that Lady Gaga was the first person to reach 25 million Twitter followers just last week, and that none of the top 20 Twitter users are religious leaders, the word of God is finding a firm foothold on Twitter.

You can read the full New York Times article about Christian leaders on Twitter here.

(“Devoted Followers” image via the New York Times; Cross image via Shutterstock)