I've experienced the Bob McKenzie Twitter effect firsthand.
After an online endorsement from the Hockey Insider, I gained upwards of 7,000 new followers in a day and a half.
Seven thousand - that's one new follower every 18.5 seconds.
It's clear that sports fans in the Twitterverse trust what Bob has to say. They trust the information he puts out there, the informed opinions he shares, the accuracy of his content.
That, more than anything, appears to be the key factor in terms of why he's reached half a million followers. It's less about the speed of the information, it seems, more about the legitimacy of it.
As Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens told me, "He's a guy with a lot of credibility to his name. As far as Twitter goes, when he writes something you know it's true."
Not that Bob is slow on the uptake. Typically he's one of the first - if not the first - in the hockey world to break news.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk admitted the first tweet he saw when he was traded to the Leafs was Bob's. Teammate Mike Kostka said he first found out about the Brian Burke firing from a Bob McKenzie tweet running along the bottom of SportsCentre.
That tweet, as it turns out, was Bob's most shared tweet ever - earning him 5,250-plus retweets.
As James Duthie pointed out to me, it's like Bob is his own news wire now, with 500,000 subscribers. To put that number into perspective for you:
- That's more followers than every NHL team account
- Roughly 188,500 more followers than Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Roughly 101,670 more followers than the NHL's most famous tweeter, Paul Bissonnette
His online influence is likely one of the reasons he received honourable mention on Sports Illustrated's list of the most powerful people in sports media, a list that includes the likes of Bill Simmons, Charles Barkley and Bob Costas.
Though McKenzie's following continues to grow - he gains roughly 385 new followers per day – the tweet he sent out when he reached the 500,000 mark makes it clear he realizes it's all relative.
"I see my Twitter-dometer just clicked over 500K. No big deal but thanks for stopping by nonetheless. Only 34+ million behind @justinbieber."