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Aug 01 2011

Newt Gingrich redefines what it means to be pathetic

Newt Gingrich has 1,325,842 followers on twitter.

Who cares, you might be asking. The criteria for being popular on twitter are rather different than the criteria for being a competent statesman; if twitter mattered in that way, Ashton Kucher would be president. It’s irrelevant. But Gingrich is unhappy because his vast appeal is unappreciated by the media: “I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined, but it didn’t count because if it counted I’d still be a candidate; since I can’t be a candidate that can’t count.”

Wow. Gingrich believes having lots of twitter followers gives him credibility? That’s pathetic.

But wait, that’s not pathetic. This is pathetic: he bought most of those followers!

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?

That’s just sad.

(Pssst. By the way, to the hundred thousand readers who aren’t my sockpuppets: I’ll get the paychecks to you later. We’re having a little cash flow problem, what with the transition to a new site and all that.)

62 comments

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  1. 1
    feralboy12

    That’s just sad.

    No, wait. What’s the opposite of sad? Oh yeah–hilarious.

    Of course, elementary chaos theory tells us that all newtbots will eventually turn on their master.

  2. 2
    llewelly

    PZ:

    (Pssst. By the way, to the hundred thousand readers who aren’t my sockpuppets: I’ll get the paychecks to you later. We’re having a little cash flow problem, what with the transition to a new site and all that.)

    That’s ok PZ. Just remember, all 12 of the sockpuppets I once ran are on strike until we get paid. Don’t you forget, they have starving baby squid to feed, and the cost of nutritious fetus keeps going up.

  3. 3
    Emily

    (Pssst. By the way, to the hundred thousand readers who aren’t my sockpuppets: I’ll get the paychecks to you later. We’re having a little cash flow problem, what with the transition to a new site and all that.)

    Okay, just don’t forget ;)

  4. 4
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    “I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined, but it didn’t count because if it counted I’d still be a candidate; since I can’t be a candidate that can’t count.”

    Wut?

    I have read and re-red that sentence a whole bunch of times and it still doesn’t make any sense.

    Is it just me?

    But wait, that’s not pathetic.

    Yes it is. Just not as pathetic as having to pay (fake) people to follow you.

    I’m not at all surprised by this. Does anyone like Newt? I know some really hardcore righty-tighties and they didn’t even like Newt.

  5. 5
    RichardAustin

    We get cash? Oh wait, n/m, forgot I’m a sock puppet. Carry on.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    “Follow agencies”?? How pathetic. What marketing asswipe cooked up that idea? “Hey, in this virtual world in which friendship has been devalued to mean ‘gave enough of a fuck to click a button’ you can have lots of friends!” Newt probably thinks that the folks at Tiffany’s really really like him a lot, too.

  7. 7
    MFHeadcase

    **Head desk**
    **Head desk**
    **Head desk**
    **Head desk**
    **Head desk**

    Is Newt really that fucking stupid? or does he really think the REST of us are that fucking stupid?

    Wait! I know! If enough people keeps slamming their heads into their desks, there will be an epidemic of traumatic brain injuries the he believes will be sufficient to get him elected.

    Fortunately, even traumatic brain injuries that cause cognitive defects are not enough. it takes years of brainwashing.

  8. 8
    llewelly

    What a maroon. He should have bought his fake followers from Diebold.

  9. 9
    Travis

    I always wondered who created all of those fake accounts on the social networks I use. I guess this is part of that.
    I have a hatred fake account owners and photo thiefs on social networks that is probably a little crazy but I do find they can really ruin a good website.

    MFHeadcase, sadly I think plenty of people are that stupid. On one website I use regularly I am constantly amazed at how many people think a fake profile is real, one that obviously just used photos they found online. Many people seem to lack filters that let them determine whether something is bullshit or not.

  10. 10
    MFHeadcase

    Travis, true, many are that stupid, but I like to think not a critical mass.

    And the head injury trick won’t work at least.

  11. 11
    MFHeadcase

    Gaaaah!, Michael=Me… apparently the head injury routine does have some effect.

  12. 12
    ema

    @Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies

    No, I had the same problem.

  13. 13
    chaos_engineer

    I wouldn’t call this pathetic. I think it represents an exciting opportunity!

    This is of course Newt’s second major embarrassment in a week. (The other one was when he was asked to explain why his campaign T-shirts are made in El Salvador instead of the USA.)

    Now, obviously, neither of these were Newt’s decisions. He’s been in politics for decades, and he knows that you don’t import your campaign gear from other countries. He also knows that if you need to pack an auditorium, then you bus in some of your supporters from out-of-town; you don’t hire a bunch of strangers and then expect them to keep it a secret…and he’d be able to figure out that the same rule applies to Twitter.

    What this is telling me is that his campaign is understaffed, and even the lowest-ranking intern gets to work unsupervised and make all sorts of important decisions. So like I said, it’s an exciting opportunity! If you’re a young Republican, I think you’ll find that one or two of these great internships have just opened up.

    It’s great experience, and if you accidentally screw up, then the press will tell you about it and you can just leave that incident off of your resume.

    (That said, when Newt’s intern handed him the Twitter rankings, Newt should have said, “Wait a minute…if I’m this popular, then how come I’m only at 5% in the primary polls, and my fundraising is in the toilet? Somebody should research this further before we go public with it.” I guess it’s kind of pathetic that he didn’t say that.)

  14. 14
    Travis

    :-) I guessed they were one and the same.

    I think I am just grumpy tonight. Sometimes I am positive and think that people can learn, that the world is not doomed but I am in a bit of a grumpy, bitter funk tonight.

  15. 15
    Diana

    I must be real because I just got my first fake email from a widow willing to give me her inheritance when she dies (soon) of cancer, if I just do something. She failed to tell me what, though. But I’ll give it all to you, PZ, just as soon as I hear from her. Then you can have a site that can support you.

  16. 16
    Nemo

    Actually that standard would make Lady Gaga (with 12 million followers) president. Although she’s too young (25), but then so is Ashton (33). Hmm… have to find the most popular natural-born U.S. citizen over 35 on Twitter… OH WAIT.

    http://twitaholic.com/

  17. 17
    Eric Atkinson

    As far as I can tell, the only OM at Pharyngula that I thought might be one of Dr. Myers sockpuppets is “Turd of the Redhead.”

    But he also might just be a hate bot; kinda like Bender but without the humor.

  18. 18
    Nemo

    P.S. For birthers, I believe that means President Ellen DeGeneres.

  19. 19
    wildlifer

    New site and the first thing I’m greeted with is a “Repeal Obamacare” ad w/a unflattering photo of Obama?

    Jeeze

  20. 20
    jinxmchue

    Obviously, I’m missing all the fun! Curse you, AdBlock.

  21. 21
    Crudely Wrott

    We’re having a little cash flow problem, what with the transition to a new site and all that.

    ‘At OK, PZ. Just post date the check. No problemo, hombre.

  22. 22
    Aquaria

    Fuck off, Atkinson.

    Nerd is a valued member of the Pharyngula community.

    And you are…?

    A whining fuckface, that’s what.

    Shut up.

  23. 23
    PharyngulaFan_23425622

    Very nice, Prof. Myers, well said. This is my favorite blog! PZ for president!

  24. 24
    Inaji

    I’ll get the paychecks to you later.

    I’ll have you know I need that check for 12 cents.

    * * *

    Eric Atkinson, here’s your decaying, rancid porcupine. Be sure to insert it backwards for full benefit, and pound hard.

    Sincerely, another OM Tentaclepuppet.

    *I’ll take a killfile in lieu of my paycheck, PZ.

  25. 25
    tangsm

    Maybe he’ll post an internet poll to prove once and for all that he’s the popular candidate. Is it too much to hope it might have a write-in box for what we really want him to do for a living? I’m sure we could give him some fantastic career advice if he’s so adamant about the veracity of internet numbers.

  26. 26
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    It’s gonna be either Gingrich or Bachmann, depending on who gets the upper hand—the plutocrats or the teabaggers. Everybody thinks Romney’s the safe choice, but the plutocrats know (even if the public doesn’t) that Romneycare is the same as Obamacare. There’s no way they’re putting their faith in him.

    The convention is going to be a bigger clusterfuck than the ’68 Democratic convention. Not violence-wise—there’s no way the cops would turn on right-wing rioters—but it’s going to be a mess of cosmic proportions. I don’t know which side will hijack the proceedings, but either way, it’s going to be a freak show.

  27. 27
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Audley:

    I had exactly the same problem with the sentence – clearly literacy isn’t exactly Newt’s thing.

    Atkinson:

    Do stop whining please. NoR has contributed a lot to Pharyngula; sadly I can’t say the same for you.

  28. 28
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    I’m amazed that public figures continue to believe that they can use this sort of tactic, and not get found out! There really should be some sort of exam that politicians (in particular) are required to take before allowing them anywhere near the intertubes. Newt, remember this: you can have no secrets when so many people are looking at you.

  29. 29
    Phillip IV

    Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies @ #4:

    “I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined, but it didn’t count because if it counted I’d still be a candidate; since I can’t be a candidate that can’t count.”

    Wut?

    I have read and re-red that sentence a whole bunch of times and it still doesn’t make any sense.

    Is it just me?

    Newt’s candidacy and his sanity are having a deterioration race, and the sanity seems to be gaining – give it a few more weeks and his sentences will no longer have any sort of grammatical structure. In this case, I think it’s still barely possible to make out what he’s complaining about: He’s claiming that the media would normally consider a large number of twitter followers as sign of a viable grass-roots candidacy, but since they are prejudiced against him and want to talk his candidacy down, they are ignoring it.

    The whole thing is part of the ‘grass-roots’ candidate shtick he’s been trying to pull off ever since the mass-desertions of key staff members. Since nobody is buying it, he tries to prop it up with a few pages from Sarah Palin’s ‘lamestream media’ black-is-white playbook. You know, the one where any objective reporting on your pathetic failure as a political candidate becomes proof positive that the Beltway elites have unleashed their lamestream media attack dogs on you because they are just so afraid of your fresh and iconoclastic outsider approach and your massive grass-root support.

    Obviously, it’s not going to work for Newt, put it’s still hilarious to even see him, of all people, reduced to the extremities of having to push that line of reasoning.

  30. 30
    Fukuda

    Poor newts, they don’t deserve to be confused with him…

  31. 31
    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    It’s a wonder that PZ (I?) have time for anything, seeing as we’re all his (my?) sockpuppets and he (I?) have so many hobbies and clearly know more than enough about, well, more or less everything – be it anything from cooking to trains, geology to video games. All of that on top of writing his (my?) book and being a professor at a college – hard work, hard work.

  32. 32
    Alex

    One day I want to know how PZ can maintain 23+x sockpuppets 24/7, even whilst in midair! These airplane internet connections, if available, are very expensive, and not very good. Maybe he is using meatspace sockpuppets after all…

  33. 33
    Tom Estes

    Glad PZ Myer’s blasphemy has been banished to this backwater.

    An august organization like NG could rightly not tolerate his nonsense.

  34. 34
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Aaaaaaaaaaand Estes is back. The amnesty has been around for what, a day, and you’re back godbotting? Magnifuckingfique.

  35. 35
    Alex

    Tom Estes,

    Backwater? The internet is not really a series of tubes, you know…

    Btw, what is this “National Geographic” that I’ve heard so much about on Pharyngula lately?

  36. 36
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Yay, Testes is here!! :D

  37. 37
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    Tom Estes says:

    Glad PZ Myer’s blasphemy has been banished to this backwater.

    I’m not an experienced enough commenter to dare dive on this one myself, but I look forward to watching the august regulars tear this to shreds. I shall treat it as a learning experience.

    <montyburns>Smithers, release the hounds!</montyburns>

  38. 38
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    My Gravatar avatar isn’t showing up :/

  39. 39
    Le Havre en Chêne

    CdlM:

    ‘Tis now :)

  40. 40
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Yes it is :D

  41. 41
    Emrysmyrddin

    I’m guessing that Someone is Of A Certain Age, and is still carving teh Interwebz up into physical proportions, imagining giant boxes with blinking lights and mysterious dials…

    I’ve heard backwaters contain alligators and skunkapes.

  42. 42
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Have just checked out your site – I had no idea you were transgender. For what it’s worth, your photo looks awesome (espcecially as I have a mild interest in tartan).

  43. 43
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Le Havre en Chêne:

    Haha, thank you. I like the tartan look myself, but to be accurate I actually need this tartan here. The red is nice, tho.

  44. 44
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Oh are you an O’Donnell? I’m a Stirling on my mother’s side, though a few generations removed now.

  45. 45
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Le Havre en Chêne:

    Donnell, but yea. My great-great grandfather dropped the O’ and altered the pronunciation from Donn-ul to Donn-elle

  46. 46
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort says:

    My Gravatar avatar isn’t showing up :/

    At the risk of further derailing this thread, how does one get one of these avatar thingies? I see no setting for it on the Edit My Profile page.

  47. 47
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Drawing Business:

    You have to make a Gravatar login (http://gravatar.com – from here) linked to your e-mail you use for the WordPress login. Then you have to upload an icon. It can be any size and Gravatar will re-size and crop for you. It’s associated with your e-mail so any site that you go to with Gravatar will show that icon.

  48. 48
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort says

    You have to make a Gravatar login (http://gravatar.com – from here) linked to your e-mail you use for the WordPress login.

    Ah, marvellous. Thanks very much. Awaiting confirmation email even now.

  49. 49
    First Approximation, L'esprit de l'escalier

    Just testing. Disregard.

  50. 50
    Alex

    This thread really is full of testicles…

  51. 51
    Inaji

    T.Estes:

    Glad PZ Myer’s blasphemy has been banished to this backwater.*

    I see you’re still as dense as ever, T.estes. Can’t recognize a new network…well, no surprise, given your tiny blog where you mostly respond to yourself. Oh, that stench of fear, being unable to cope with intelligent commentary and questions.

    An august organization like NG could rightly not tolerate his nonsense.

    And we’re supposed to tolerate your nonsense, your delusions and your nastiness? You are one of the thickest cupcakes, T.estes.

    You didn’t do so well in your last foray into the shark tank, which as I recall, was ass first. I see some things don’t change.

    *Aughh, no comic sans!

  52. 52
    mikerattlesnake

    Wouldn’t scienceblogs have been a bit of a “backwater” without PZ? What was the average readership of all non-pharyngula blogs? I think he’ll do fine here.

  53. 53
    Richard Eis

    Tom Estes!

    How are you? I hope you’re well!

    You still running your anti-evolution site?

    Ah, happy memories of much time wasted.

  54. 54
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    “a candidate that can’t count.”

    Ah, now the sentence makes sense.

  55. 55
    Rey Fox

    Heh, blasphemy. You’re funny, Tom.

  56. 56
    myeck waters

    Yeah, Tom, everyone knows the proper term is blastocyst.

  57. 57
    chaos-engineer

    It’s gonna be either Gingrich or Bachmann, depending on who gets the upper hand—the plutocrats or the teabaggers. Everybody thinks Romney’s the safe choice, but the plutocrats know (even if the public doesn’t) that Romneycare is the same as Obamacare.

    That’s backwards. The teabaggers are the ones who are going to block Romney (because he’s a Mormon, and a socialist, and he doesn’t hate gay people enough). The plutocrats support him…Obamacare/Romneycare is an essentially Republican plan, and it gives the plutocrats a chance to hang on to some of the money that they’re currently losing when people go into medical bankruptcy. Obviously they’re willing to use the necessary-but-unpopular “mandatory coverage” law as a club to beat the Democrats with, but that doesn’t mean they really want to get rid of it.

    The nominee is going to be Rick Perry…he’s a dream candidate for the plutocrats, and doesn’t seem to have any baggage that will keep the teabaggers from supporting him.

    Bachmann a side-show who’s being propped up to make Perry look sane in comparison. Her campaign will collapse once she’s no longer needed.

    Newt is a marginal candidate who can’t get much above 5% in the polls. My best guess is that he needs money and is using his campaign as a vehicle to increase his book sales.

  58. 58
    Duth Olec

    Er. Wait. Is he saying that because he has money to spend on ludicrous, frivolous nonsense, he is a most important and should be a candidate?

  59. 59
    Tony Sidaway

    That post in gawker was just the words of an unnamed former staffer. Here’s an independent analysis by a search analytics company:

    Update: only 92% of Newt Gingrich’s Twitter followers are fake. (talkingpointmemo.com)

    ‘The average Twitter user, Mackey says, has a follower count that consists of anywhere from 35% to 60% real people. At 8%, Gingrich’s is the lowest PeekYou has ever seen. “When was saw it, we actually had our quality assurance people go over the numbers for two days to doublecheck,” he says.’

  60. 60
    Susannah

    Just testing, to see if my icon shows up.

  61. 61
    MFHeadcase

    Tony Sidaway,
    Oh yes, 92% of Newts followers being fake is better, it restores my faith in the world.

    Or not.
    **headdesk**
    **headdesk**
    **headdesk**
    **headdesk**
    **headdesk**
    **headdesk**
    **feeling woozy**

    Oh yes! Newt IS the best candidate the Republican’s can field, no one else has the experience, credentials and popularity, to unseat the Kenyan Usurper…

    Ummm, maybe there is something to this massive head trauma strategery….

    **passes out**

  62. 62
    Scott Simmons

    Whut! I’ve been following PZ on Twitter for free! I’ve been scammed!

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