Gingrich Engages his “Tweeples” on Social Media

Newt Gingrich is amused at the notion of “tweeples” and for a while was saying “hash mark” instead of the correct “hash tag” to talk about a Twitter tool.

But the 68-year-old candidate has developed a robust social media operation that experts say is in many ways savvier than his Republican presidential rivals in amplifying his message and engaging the public.

Look no further than his pledge that gas will return to $2.50 a gallon if he is elected. The campaign started a #250gas Twitter hashtag in recent weeks to condense and distribute the message, and it has been tweeted 35,105 times reaching as many as 7 million Twitter users, the campaign said.

Perhaps the biggest sign of its influence is the fact that President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign – the Internet politicking standard-bearer — purchased advertising space so if you search for #250gas, you see a tweet from Obama linking to his energy policy.

The platform Gingrich spends the most time – and money – on is social media behemoth Facebook, where you can even reach “your 70-year-old tea party grandma,” said Gingrich campaign social media consultant Vincent Harris.

Harris worked for Rick Perry’s campaign until the Texas governor bowed out of the race in January and Gingrich snagged his services. While Perry was familiar with the tools – and even tweeted himself, which Gingrich typically does not do – “I wouldn’t say the web is as much of a critical central piece of the campaign as it was on the Gingrich campaign,” Harris said.

Gingrich was the first candidate to upgrade to a “timeline” page on Facebook, then he launched a timeline to attack rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor – basically an opposition research file, sorted by year.

Because Facebook users willingly share so much information, it allows incredibly precise communication. Harris said the campaign this week is advertising on Facebook ahead of Tuesday’s critical Alabama and Mississippi primaries targeting graduates of Christian colleges in those two states…Harris insists that Gingrich and other Republicans are matching Team Obama online, and noted the campaign employs technology that gathers all the social media chatter around big events like debates and puts it into visual form for easy study.

Click HERE to read the full article on the Atlanta Journal Constitution.