I didn't even know what to say when Newt Gingrich claimed that the press is ignoring the awesome size of his . . . Twitter following. I mean, I'm second to none in my love for Twitter (you can follow me at @asymmetricinfo), but huh? This is supposed to make him a viable candidate? If so, Alyssa Milano for Speaker of the House!
A former staffer tells them:
Newt employs a variety of agencies whose sole purpose is to procure Twitter followers for people who are shallow/insecure/unpopular enough to pay for them. As you might guess, Newt is most decidedly one of the people to which these agencies cater.To which the Gawker writer adds:
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 (Newt's profile just happens to be a part of these networks because he uses them, although he doesn't follow back), 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. Pathetic, isn't it?
While it would be impossible to survey all of Gingrich's followers, a cursory glance immediately turned up a few accounts that featured odd names, no personal information, no followers, no posts, and a small follow list.
The friend who sent me this list is, to put it mildly, no fan of Newt Gingrich. But as he points out, the methodology of checking does not back up the claims. First of all, I looked at Gingrich's most recent 100 followers, and counted up all users with a low number of tweets (<10) and followers (<25). I got about 35, which is a third, not 90%. But even that is almost certainly an overestimate; some people do join twitter, follow a few people, and then never do anything with their account again.