A primary challenger in a tight Rhode Island congressional race has nearly 1 million Twitter followers — more than Mitt Romney — but he’s not talking about how he amassed such a staggering social media fan base in a short span of time. …
Other candidates recently have been caught up in allegations that their campaigns were buying Twitter followers, including Romney and Newt Gingrich. That’s relatively easy to do online, costs only pennies apiece and is not illegal — only in violation of Facebook and Twitter terms of service.
But an oversized social footprint that suggests mass appeal can be embarrassing for a campaign should it be revealed. …
Fewer than 1 percent of Gemma’s Twitter followers are based in Rhode Island, but 14 percent are in Canada, according to Michael Hussey, CEO of PeekAnalytics, one of two independent social media research firms that provided POLITICO data on Gemma. Many of his followers’ profile photos are racy and their hometowns include cities such as Istanbul and Karachi, Pakistan.
Read the rest here. Friess tweeted an ironic twist: when he began working on the story he found out that Gemma was already following him. He also notes that the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation actually has more followers than the better-known Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
• Related: Anthony Gemma has a new Twitter feed: @Gemma4Congress (July 19)
The last holdout among the four Democrats, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, has joined his three colleagues and on Monday began tweeting under the handle @SenJackReed. He has 111 followers as of this writing (and is following no one).
“Launching @SenJackReed today as a new way for you to connect with Senator Reed,” the senior senator said in his first tweet. “Account will be managed by staff, with any tweets from Senator Reed himself signed ‘-JFR.’” Reed was first elected to Congress in 1990, on the eve of the Internet era.
Reed’s Twitter account was registered on Feb. 8, according to whendidyoujointwitter.com’s records. “This is just one more tool we are using to try and keep Rhode Islanders updated on Senator Reed’s work for them,” Reed spokesman Chip Unruh told WPRI.com in an email.
Reed has a long way to go to catch up with his junior colleague @SenWhitehouse, who has 4,361 followers. The state’s two congressmen are neck and neck, with @JimLangevin (3,499 followers) holding a slight edge over @DavidCicilline (3,116).
A sociologist might find it interesting that the senators use their titles in their official handles, while the representatives do not. The lower chamber was always supposed to be closer to the people, after all.
• Related: RI’s top officials – except Chafee – take to Twitter (Feb. 4, 2011)
You’ve read about #HealthPolicyValentines. You’ve boned up on #FedValentines. But this is Rhode Island. Shouldn’t we be writing pension – er, #PensionValentines? Here are a few that have popped up so far.
- “Hey girl, you made a defined contribution to my heart and now I’ve got a hybrid plan: you + me = us.” – @tednesi
- a reply to mine: “You will not get friends with defined benefits from that.” – @DonBotts
- “My love for you is growing like an early ’90s Providence COLA. Compounded.” – @white_tim
- “Roses are red / violets are blue / I’d give up my COLA / to spend a lifetime with you.” – @AndrewGobeil
Leave your #PensionValentine in comments. Tim suggested that if you’re really ambitious, you should come up with an #OPEBValentine.
Like a lot of other journalists these days, I use my Twitter feed as a sort of mini-blog where I post other news items, quick thoughts and new briefs that aren’t worth a full post here.
Lately, I’ve been hearing from more and more people who say they want to use Twitter but aren’t sure they have anything to tweet about. That, I think, misses what makes Twitter valuable – it’s more a brilliant little broadcasting tool than a Facebook-esque social network. “Following” smart people who highlight great writing is what makes Twitter terrific.
Twitter investor Bill Gurley explained that well in a sort of “Twitter 101″ blog post earlier this month:
Twitter suffers from two key misperceptions that need to be resolved before the business can reach its true potential. The first misperception is that Twitter is simply another social network, like Facebook. … Twitter, on the other hand, is a one-to-many information broadcast network. … [O]n Twitter, I can get something out of following Shaquile O’Neil who has no social obligation to follow me back. …
The second, and more critical, Twitter misperception is that you need to tweet, to have something to say and broadcast, for the service to be meaningful to you. For many non-Twitter users, Twitter is an intimidating proposition. “Why would I tweet?,” and “…but I don’t want to tweet” are two common refrains from the non-adopter that highlight this key misperception. But this completely misses the point as to why Twitter has become such an amazingly powerful Internet destination for 100 million others. For the vast majority of Twitter’s next 900 million users, the core usage modality will have very little to do with “tweeting,” and everything to do with “listening” or “hearing.”
… to The Washington Post’s must-read political blog The Fix for naming yours truly – along with my fellow “Newsmakers” regular WRNI’s Ian Donnis, a mentor of mine to boot – as Rhode Island’s top political tweeters. Follow me on @tednesi and decide for yourself.
I’ve been reading The Fix since Chris Cillizza started it up back when I was a wee collegiate, and it’s one of the sites on which I’ve modeled Nesi’s Notes, so this means a lot to me. I’d say more, but it appears my best work is limited to 140 characters.
(I still wonder, though, what Edward R. Murrow would think of tweeting.)
Claire Peracchio is a student at Brown University and The Brown Daily Herald’s city and state editor. This semester, she’s also an intern here at WPRI.com who will be contributing reporting and posts to Nesi’s Notes. Here’s her first piece. Give her a warm welcome. -TN.
By Claire Peracchio
Want to know what Rhode Island’s five general officers are up to – in 140 characters or less?
As candidates, the top officials used Twitter to promote their policy ideas, advertise campaign events and rally supporters. And after taking office, four out of five are still using the site.
The lone Twitter abstainer? Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Chafee was an active tweeter during his campaign but sent out his last tweet roughly two weeks after getting elected. His spokesman Mike Trainor confirms the governor is not tweeting in office.
Some of the other tweeters’ handles have changed since the campaign – here’s how to find them:
- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (@LtGovRoberts)
- General Treasurer Gina Raimondo (@GinaRaimondo)
- Secretary of State Ralph Mollis (@RalphMollis)
- Attorney General Peter Kilmartin (@AGKilmartin)
Roberts “usually tweets a few times a week,” according to her spokeswoman Maria Tocco.
Raimondo also plans to send out regular Twitter missives.
“She looks forward to tweeting frequently about how to tackle the state’s pension problems (among other Treasury topics) in 140 characters or less,” Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox quipped in an e-mail – though at this writing there was no tweet yet from Raimondo about the SEC investigation she disclosed today.
But the general officers aren’t the only ones on Twitter.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has also been sending his share of characters, snow-themed of late. He even used the recent snowstorm to recommend a trip to Providence.
“Take that snow day and come to Providence! There’s lots to do with kids to burn off that cabin fever!” Taveras tweeted on Jan. 27.
Claire Peracchio is a student at Brown University and an intern at WPRI.com.
Update: Raimondo slyly tweeted about the SEC investigation late yesterday afternoon: