It’s a new month and time for a new Saniti update. For the uninitiated, Media Hack’s Saniti (SA Newspaper Influence on Twitter Index) rating ranks South Africa’s largest news organisations by their perceived influence on Twitter (see here and here for previous releases).

This month’s Saniti report has been expanded to 22 titles with the inclusion of three new publications. The top entrant was the very popular Daily Maverick which made its much anticipated entrance at number 7. The inclusion of Daily Maverick knocked a number of the big players, including Business Report and Business Day, down a notch with most publications in the lower half losing ground.

Beeld also makes an entrance this month, in at number 11. Previous releases of Saniti did not include Beeld because there were seemingly two Beeld Twitter accounts: @beeld_nuus and @beeldnuus. The second of these has been inactive since June last year, so this list tracks the @beeld_nuus account. Also making an entry, at number 22, is Independent Newspapers’ Mercury from Durban.

Steady leadership

At the top end of the table there were no major changes in the rankings and the top six positions remained as they were last month. The bottom half of the table is another story. Most of the consistent performers lost at least one point thanks to the inclusion of the Daily Maverick and Beeld, but others lost significantly more. The Cape Argus dropped four positions, The Citizen four positions, and Die Burger five positions.

The Cape Argus appears to have an erratic style. Despite being a daily paper for the Cape region the Argus’ Twitter feed is erratic and at the time of writing had last been updated on July 1. The account also has many @replies but appears not to respond to any of these directly from the account.

Die Burger is also automated with four or five items posted each day. Similar to The Cape Argus, Die Burger has many @replies but its outgoing Twitter stream appears not to answer any reader questions or comments.

The Citizen’s Twitter account has very little in the way of feedback from followers. Its outgoing stream is also seemingly automated and there is no interaction with followers.

Big numbers

It’s worth also looking at Independent Newspapers’ Business Report. This daily financial is carried in the Independent group’s major titles around the country including The Star, Cape Times, Pretoria News and The Mercury in Durban. Despite not being a standalone publication, Business Report is Independent’s second-most influential online property behind IOL. Notably, however, Business Report’s Twitter follower numbers (32,000+) are significantly higher than any other Independent publications, including carrier publications such as The Star (850 followers) and double that of IOL. The @BusRep account also has the second largest number of followers of all these publications.

Part of Business Report’s apparent success is that its Twitter feed is managed by a staff member. Although a fair amount of the items posted on the @BusRep account are simply news headlines and link to the publication’s website, there are also many responses to followers and interaction with followers is relatively high. Obviously this is not the sole characteristic of an influential Twitter feed but reader interaction does appear to  play a role in this.

Klout uses a range of metrics to determine scores including re-tweets, community interactions and authority. Most importantly Klout doesn’t simply rely on follower numbers to determine the eventual score.

Notes: Numbers are correct as of July 6, 2011. Have a question about these rankings? Perhaps they are answered in the FAQ. If not email me and I will try and help.