It's complicated, but after an ex-staffer suggested to Gawker that many of Newt Gingrich's Twitter followers were fake, PeekYou, a New York search company has run their complicated algorithm to determine that only 8% of Newt Gingrich 1.3 million followers are “verifiable humans.”
This cuts Gingrich's number of “actual” followers to 106,067 which places him second in the PeekYou GOP Presidential candidate rankings to Sarah Palin who has 123,789 “real followers.”
It has been suggested that since Gingrich was on Twitter in the early stages of the microblogging platform, it was relatively easy to attract a large list of followers. Gingrich was one of the few Republicans on Twitter's old “suggested users” list, an explanation given by the Gingrich campaign. During the gold rush for followers in the early days of Twitter, it was also customary to “follow back” anyone that followed you, which made it easy to build a large following.
The truth is, Twitter users love to boast of their number of followers, but deep down they know that there will always be a number of spambots and porn stars that aren't actually real. That's why social media analysts use tests that show not just how many followers you have, but how influential you are.
It's no surprise that political figures and their consultants are goosing the numbers by whatever means necessary, and we can bet that many of their “friends” on Facebook and “followers” on Twitter are fake.
We can be certain that PeekYou has run President Obama's twitter account through their algorithm . . . I wonder how many of his followers are fake?