Gingrich Twitter inquiry: Where’s the leader?

A scramble is on to investigate the integrity of the 1.3 million-person Twitter following of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Gawker yesterday reported the allegations of a former campaign aide who charged that the candidate had paid “agencies” to generate followers. An Internet search firm then ran a test on Gingrich’s followership, estimating that just 8 percent of it was bona fide.

A Gingrich campaign aide has denied it all to National Review Online, calling the story “a false accusation which will hurt the feelings of 1.3 million people. #rude.” Ben Smith of Politico tosses some cold water on the notion as well.

Leave the followership investigation to the techies.

Meanwhile, a more important question is how Gingrich has cultivated his following. What type of Twitter magic has he put out there to pull people in?

A close textual analysis of the Newt feed reveals four brands of tweets. Here we go:

Category 1: Lifeless campaign trail updates:

Had great lunch at Mabe’s Pizza-a Decorah landmark.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyNewt Gingrich
newtgingrich

Suggested tweet upgrade: Oh boy, never tasted pizza sauce quite like the stuff @ Mabe’s. No wonder it’s a landmark!

Category 2: Pedantic, self-referential plugs

Visited Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville GA. They have largest collection of Don Troiani. His art is in my history novel Gettysburg.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyNewt Gingrich
newtgingrich

Suggested tweet upgrade: Who’s got the biggest collection of Don Troiani? You got it — Booth Western Art Museum!

Category 3: Service Journalism

Text of my address to Republican Jewish Coalition last night: http://t.co/xKwHisfless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyNewt Gingrich
newtgingrich

Suggested tweet upgrade: I just told an audience, “America is in the midst of an economic crisis.” More: http://t.co/xKwHisf

Category 4: TV debate-style rhetoric

The president’s threat to veto cut-cap-balance act shows he’s out of touch w/ the American people: http://t.co/fqe2rogless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyNewt Gingrich
newtgingrich

Suggested tweet upgrade: Obama to veto cut-cap-balance? More arugula, please!

Whatever the number of earned Gingrich followers, this guy doesn’t deserve 1.3 million.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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