Gemma questioned for 'buying friends'
Posted: 7/27/2012 8:59:20 AM
First District Congressional Candidate Anthony Gemma is being accused of buying friends. A report from Politico examines Gemmas social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter and unveils some telling findings.
According to the report, Gemma, who prides himself on his extensive social media network, has more friends and followers than Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. On Twitter, Romney has about 825,000 followers to Gemmas 968,000 followers.
Are all Gemmas followers from Rhode Island? No, in fact it would seem that only one percent of his followers are actually based in Rhode Island however, the candidate does seem to be popular in Canada where 14 percent of his followers live, according to data provided to Politico by PeekAnalytics.
Gemmas reach goes beyond the continental United States however, with some followers in Istanbul and Pakistan. Other followers have racy photos and profiles.
In February, Gemmas campaign Facebook page went from 3,414 fans to 107,614 and his Twitter account grew by 400,000 followers. Gemma now has ten times more Facebook fans than votes he received in the 2010 primary against Congressman David Cicilline.
It is nothing new for candidates to buy friends and it is not illegal, however it does violate the terms of service on Twitter and Facebook. Romney and Newt Gingrich have been accused of buying friends in the past.
How much does a friend cost? Well, according to Politico, they can be as cheap as a few pennies.
By the time Gemma officially announced his bid for congress in April he had grown his followers to just over 1 million on Twitter.
Despite his apparent popularity on social networking, Gemma has relatively low response with only a few followers actually interacting with the candidate. Politico says that he once asked followers to retweet a photo and only six did.
Gemma isnt the only Gemma doing well on social media. According to Politico, The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a charity started by Gemma to honor his late mother, also experienced a large spike in followers in February.Dee DeQuattro | WPRO News
(7/27/2012 7:49:18 PM) |
Gemma drop out now your on the verge of getting little davy reelected - you're both the worst for Rhoed Island.
(7/27/2012 12:15:31 PM) |
just what we need representing us...a DUD who buys friends on Twitter...give me a break...
(7/27/2012 11:21:03 AM) |
It appears he's using the Romney technique.
(7/27/2012 10:27:29 AM) |
Ryan hit the nail on the head.
(7/27/2012 10:12:56 AM) |
I work in social media and this is nothing new. Big names buy followers and fans all the time. Follower # doesn't matter in terms of ROI - it's all about engagement. If he had 6 retweets on a picture, that's actually a decent engagement rate for a local politician on social media. It is, however, disproportionate to what you would expect from someone with that many followers. Bottom line is, a high follower count tends to validate your importance in the eyes of others. But engagement counts more
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