Work has intruded on my blogging more than I’d like recently, so I haven’t had the chance to revisit the issue of the mysterious explosion in twitter followers for California Senate candidates Carly Fiorina and Al Ramirez. A couple days ago, in response to the piece I wrote on the subject, someone from the NRSC sent me a link to this article, which purported to explain the phenomenon:
Social-networking site Twitter plans to end a service that links prominent message posters with new users, a service that was criticized in California because of perceived unfairness toward GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said Monday the San Francisco-based company will overhaul its “suggested users” list, which links Twitter users with a pool of about 500 celebrities, sports figures and politicians they might want to follow.
Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, who led the Republican field with 4,160 Twitter followers, jumped to nearly 61,000 followers. Former Congressman Tom Campbell went from 1,660 followers to 57,500, while state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner’s nearly 2,600 followers increased to 56,500.
By comparison, Attorney General Jerry Brown, the presumed Democratic gubernatorial candidate, increased from 960,000 followers to 1 million during the same three-week period.
Twitter also added Carly Fiorina, who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer next year.
This, I suppose, is a plausible enough reason for the expansion of Fiorina’s follower list. Fiorina is, after all, a former CEO of a major tech company and something of a political celebrity. It is, by all accounts, the best explanation for the mechanism by which Fiorina increased the number of her twitter followers. However, the Al Ramirez situation continues to give pause: what is the explanation for Ramirez’s massive expansion? Why did he thank the NRSC for all his new followers, only to yank his thanks back down? Did the NRSC lobby twitter for Fiorina and Ramirez’s inclusion on the list? I asked these questions to the person from the NRSC who sent me the article on Tuesday, and as of this moment have not received a response.
Of course, lack of response via email to me proves nothing, even if the person in question proactively sought correction of my piece. However, I can still see no plausible reason for Ramirez’s inclusion on the list absent lobbying on the part of someone, and Ramirez himself thanked the NRSC. If the NRSC really did lobby for Fiorina and Ramirez’s inclusion on the list, why not Chuck DeVore, who had clearly been working before this time to build an already-substantial list of twitter followers?