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The Art and Craft of Building McCain's Twitter Base

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, September 23 2010

In a sadly overlooked comment on a post last month about that "John McCain is a Twitter genius" report, Stan Olshefski smartly points out that some part of McCain's 1.7 million follower base came about through "inorganic" means, in that McCain was for a time on Twitter's much-disliked "Suggested User List" that recommended Twitter follows to new users. That does seem to be the case.

The Suggested User List, a.k.a. has since gone to the Twitter bad idea graveyard, but McCain gets to keep his followers. Anecdotally, at least, Twitter seems a place where the rich get richer. The more followers you have, the more followers you have ready and waiting to retweet your tweets, which is a pretty good way to attract new followers. That's not to say that any of McCain's followers didn't make the willful choice to follow him. That's not the case. But Twitter's design choices did helped grease the path a bit in his direction.

(Of perhaps added relevance today, also on Twitter's Suggested User List was Cory Booker, as was Jerry Brown, Al Gore, the White House, and Australian PM Kevin Rudd. Besides McCain, though, no other members of Congress were thus honored; and he, of course, has the added aspect of having been a recent presidential nominee.)