The last straw for what once was the staff of Newt Gingrich presidential campaign was the luxury cruise he took just weeks after announcing his candidacy. But the vacation incident was indicative of a bigger problem--Gingrich's staff wanted to run a traditional campaign with lots of hand-shaking in early voting states, while Newt himself wanted to do all that stuff online. The staff quit and Gingrich soldiers on, touting the appeal of his ideas as evidenced by his massive Twitter constituency--1,325,842 follwers. But Gawker's John Cook reports that only about 10 percent of those followers are living, breathing humans.
About 80 percent of those accounts are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various "follow agencies," another 10 percent are real people who are part of a network of folks who follow others back and are paying for followers themselves ... and the remaining 10 percent may, in fact, be real, sentient people who happen to like Newt Gingrich. If you simply scroll through his list of followers you'll see that most of them have odd usernames and no profile photos, which has to do with the fact that they were mass generated.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.