Sex columnist Dan Savage: The undisputed social media news king of Seattle

Dan Savage: Social media king?

The Stranger’s Dan Savage is crude, lewd and, at times, outrageously funny. Seattle’s best-known sex advice columnist also is an online superstar, operating the biggest “social brand” among the many media properties and professionals in the city.

That’s one of the interesting findings from Newsdex, a nifty new online tool which is being unveiled today by two veteran newsmen.

Developed by longtime Seattle journalist Chuck Taylor and coding geek Gary Love, Newsdex provides a fascinating graphical analysis of the most powerful media brands in the city — as measured by Twitter and Facebook followers.

The list includes new media upstarts like the West Seattle Blog, My Ballard and GeekWire, as well as established entities like KOMO News, The Seattle P-I and KPLU.

But it is Savage who is the undisputed champ when it comes to social media presence.

The editorial director of The Stranger — who doesn’t Tweet (as far as we could find) — has attracted nearly 90,000 fans on Facebook. That’s more than the Twitter and Facebook followings of The Seattle Times and KING 5 — combined.


Savage also leads the list of the top media personalities in Seattle, followed by KIRO’s Jenni Hogan (29,000 followers) and Linda “The News Chick” Thomas (14,700 followers). (GeekWire’s own Todd Bishop ranks fifth at 6,041 followers, and I just crack the top 10).

Taylor, who has been playing around with Twitter lists for some time, describes Newsdex as a work in progress. He still maintains his day job as an editor at The Herald in Everett, calling Newsdex “an experiment and public service.”

Top media brands in terms of Twitter followers. (Click for full view)

The technology behind the Web site could be expanded in new directions, allowing companies to monitor accounts of employees or competitors in various industries. If there’s interest, Taylor said he may pursue that path.

There’s certainly valuable information in the initial lists, especially as the traditional media landscape goes through a period of upheaval. (We can already see PR masters gobbling up the lists)

Taylor, for one, said he’s gleaned interesting insight from the list, which can be sliced and diced into various categories like local/regional news and hyperlocal news.

“There’s an immediate lesson from this effort, learned as we painstakingly input the data: Most media sites do a lousy job of calling attention to their various Twitter accounts and Facebook pages,” notes Taylor, a veteran of The Seattle Times and Crosscut.

That hasn’t been a problem for Savage, who prominently displays a Facebook button on every one of his online columns. It is likely that the columnist will top 100,000 fans some time this Spring.

Love, who works at Belo in Seattle, said that Savage represented an interesting challenge since he’s both a local and national columnist.

“Dan obviously has an advantage with his national presence, but he fit those rules (of local media personality), so we included him,” said Love. “Social media recommendation No. 1: Have a cross-media, niche-national celebrity on staff.”

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

  • Jenny Kuglin

    KOMO’s Kathi Goertzen has 64,335 fans on Facebook!

    • http://newsdex.net/taylor/ Chuck Taylor

      Jenny, I don’t see Kathi Goertzen’s Facebook page promoted on the KOMO website. Two-way promotion is one of the criteria we employ to decide whether someone’s social identity can be included in a company ranking.

      • Jenny Kuglin
        • http://newsdex.net/taylor/ Chuck Taylor

          Why, yes it does. Did not see that.

          • Jenny Kuglin

            Great! Thanks for adding her!

        • http://newsdex.net/taylor/ Chuck Taylor

          Why, yes it does. Did not see that.

  • johnhcook

    Thanks Jenny. I am not sure why she wasn’t counted here, so I’ll ask list creator Chuck Taylor for more info…

  • http://www.kisw.com The Reverend En Fuego

    http://www.facebook.com/therealbjshea — BJ Shea, KISW has 10,908.

  • http://twitter.com/EricBurgess Eric Burgess

    Who’s Dan Savage?

  • Geneshook

    Wow, this makes me realize how truly sad and out of touch Seattle has really become. Remember the good old days when Seattle was known for innovation and new ideas. Guess those days are behind us now.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that a sex columnist and a cute traffic reporter top the list may tell us just how useful this list is.

    • Anonymous

      I imagine it has been awhile since Kathi Goertzen has been referred to as a cute traffic reporter (she’s #2 on the list behind Dan).

      If you’d like to restore your faith in Seattle-ites being thoughtful, substantial followers of local media. I might recommend narrowing the list to just “primary” accounts.

      http://seattle.newsdex.us/index.php?network=all&ownership=primary&category=all

      • Anonymous

        I was referring to Jenni Hogan, who was #2 on the list (see the screenshot with this story) before they added Kathi G.