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Australia, how tweet it is to be loved by you

Top tweeters ... Malcolm Turnbull and <em>Herald</em> columnist Annabel Crabb.

Top tweeters ... Malcolm Turnbull and Herald columnist Annabel Crabb.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says it's "very flattering to be in such distinguished company".

But, echoing Groucho Marx's oft-quoted line that he did not care to belong to any club that would have him as a member, Crikey political correspondent Bernard Keane says it is "a sick, sick world" in which someone like him is considered influential.

"I'm asking for a recount", he wrote on Twitter.

The pair was included in a list released today of Twitter's 10 most influential political Australian voices, which shows Australia's top 10 Twitter users had an average of 55,370 followers, and scored 8350 online mentions over a 90-day period.

The global it-list of Twitter's most influential political personalities across G20 countries, broken down by country, was published by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.

It shows Australia's top 10 were completely dominated by politicians and journalists and were, in alphabetical order:

ABC journalist Alan Kohler (@AlanKohler)

Fairfax columnist and ABC journalist Annabel Crabb (@annabelcrabb)

Crikey correspondent Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard – (@JuliaGillard)

Daily Telegraph journalist Joe Hildebrand (@Joe-Hildebrand)

Opposition treasurer spokesman Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey)

Labor backbencher Kevin Rudd (@KRuddMP)

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm)

Opposition leader Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR)

Environment minister Tony Burke (@Tony-Burke)

The list was put together using the so-called Klout scale, which claims to be the "standard measure of online influence".

Some internet users have questioned the veracity of Klout scores, which measure social networks - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ - and rank people based on their use of those networks, particularly how much they interact with other users, and how much other users interact with them.

Nonetheless, the score is widely used - to the point where Twitter users actively try to bolster their Klout scores and dating websites offer to find people a match based on their online "Klout".

It appears that political influence is concentrated among a few commentators in Australia. In a statement released today, Burson-Marsteller Australia chief executive Christine Jones said Australia's top tweeters averaged 149.450 followers, compared with the UK at 98,698 and the EU at 14,955.

"Twitter has become a go-to for political commentary and discussion," Ms Jones said.

"In Australia we have a very vocal group of politicians and journalists who lead the majority of discussion, as opposed to NGOs or influential organizations."

In contrast, the firm said, the top influencers in China included "real estate tycoons, television presenters and comedians".

In the US, President Barack Obama and Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney made the top 10, as did Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates and Chris Cillizza, the author of Washington Post blog The Fix.

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