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Friday, December 03, 2021

“Mom, why doesn’t anybody like me?” asks a teenage daughter on any sitcom ever.

“Well, sweetie,” says the mother as she sits them both on the probably beige couch, “maybe because you’ve been trying so hard lately. You don’t normally wear these clothes or such heavy makeup, do you?”

“No, I guess not,” says the daughter. “I just wanted to be like the popular girls in school. They always get all the attention!”

“Now, you listen to me. All those other kids? They don’t know what they’re missing out on,” says the mother. “Think about all your friends who like you just the way you are.”

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Tune into a family sitcom, and I guarantee you will catch that scene at some point. It’s the job of sitcoms to portray everyday struggles and to teach us how to deal with them.

Mitt Romney is the daughter in this scene when it comes to popularity on social networks.

His Facebook account has almost 24 million fewer fans than President Obama’s account.

His Tumblr noticeably and continually receives a paltry number of notes compared to Obama’s. For example, the most notes an original post has on the first page of Romney’s Tumblr is 51.

That means 51 Tumblr accounts either liked or “reblogged” that post.

Obama’s first page has an original post with almost 2,000 notes at the time of writing. The least popular posts on the first page still have more than 100 notes, something Romney’s account can’t claim.

But it’s Romney’s Twitter account that has recently been under scrutiny.

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Less than a million users follow @MittRomney, while more than 17 million follow @BarackObama.

When Saturday evening rolled around, multiple websites began to notice an extreme increase in Twitter followers.

In the past month, Romney gained about 3,000 to 4,000 followers each day. This Friday, 23,000 more accounts started following him, and 75,000 more followed him on Saturday.

No matter who you are, or where you fall on the political spectrum, that’s a bizarrely high amount of new followers. But, so what? What’s the problem?

A lot of those followers do not appear to be real people. That makes a lot of people think that he purchased these so-called spam accounts in order to boost his numbers.

A few of the accounts have gobbledygook tweets, if they have any tweets at all. They also follow the same small number of other users.

Romney’s team has come forward to deny the purchase of Twitter followers.

I might come across as insensitive or disingenuous for a minute: In addition to accusing Romney of buying Twitter followers, people have also speculated that he did it this weekend on purpose. Perhaps he wanted it to be swept under the news rug of Aurora, Colo.

Maybe Romney needs to spend some time in front of Netflix, maybe throw on some good ol’ “Family Ties.” Sitcoms show us time and time again that we don’t have to be something we’re not in order to succeed. You shouldn’t change yourself in order to become, or appear, more popular.

Romney’s main demographic is not the typical social media user. They’re out there, but they’re not coming out of the woodwork when compared with Obama’s supporters.

Maybe Romney’s robot friends thought he was feeling lonely.

Sami Main is a journalism senior at UF. Her column appears on Tuesdays. You can contact her at opinions@alligator.org.

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