Want to see how good an economics pundit you are? Plug your name into our Blo(g)viation Indexer (patent pending)!
The name stems from Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson's description of a Twitter-based metric for determining an online commenter's value. (You may remember Ferguson, pictured above, for his views on homosexuality and economics, skepticism about President Obama, and, most recently, misreading government reports.)
[D]ivide the number of followers by the number of tweets. The resulting index of influence is revealing. It shows that the majority of my most vehement online critics are in fact writing more than they are being read, as the number of their tweets substantially exceeds the number of their followers.
And so: the Blo(g)viation Index, for which Ferguson has not yet been awarded the Economics Nobel.
On this metric — which equates one Twitter follower with one read tweet, which seems low — there are no more respectable online pundits than … Niall Ferguson, whose ratio of followers to tweets is very, very high. Higher, as you can see in the graph at right, than his critics. Higher even than The New York Times' Paul Krugman (who has won a Nobel).
One of the pundits on that list, Business Insider's Josh Barro (Blo(g)viation score: an embarrassing 0.8) thinks he may have found a slight flaw in Ferguson's metric. To wit: there doesn't actually appear to be much correlation between the Blo(g)viation™ score and any actual profundity.
We all want to get our guidance on inflation, interest rates and budget deficits from whoever has the best followers-to-tweets ratio, and Ferguson didn't provide the full menu of options.
You know who has a better Blo(g)viation score than Niall Ferguson? Well, Kim Kardashian — whose economic success is admittedly somewhat remarkable.
We decided to go Barro one further. Below, our indexer. See how you (or anyone else's) Twitter persona compares to some of the great economic minds of our time. (Suggestions, if you're stumped: Pontifex, Oprah, BarackObama, BillClinton.) Have fun, and don't forget to include this number on your Nobel applications.