Will 2012 be the year for Ron Paul, thanks to his online following?

Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced Friday that he will run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012, the third attempt for the man known on Capitol Hill as "Dr. No" for his enthusiasm for bashing runaway spending and government overreach.
Ron Paul
Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced Friday that he will run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012

(CBS/What's Trending) - I guess you could say that Ron Paul was a man ahead of his time. The just-announced potential candidate for the GOP presidential ballot had a die-hard, grassroots following that spread his conservative-libertarian viewpoints like viral wildfire across the interwebs -- back in 2008.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a big enough online movement to fuel Paul's race to the White House, and he failed in his original bid. In the first Iowa caucus, he came in fourth out of all the GOP candidates at a paltry ten percent.

That was then, this is 2012. With the Tea Party movement prevalent online, and his followers more experienced at using social media to promote their causes, it seems that the Ron Paul army is ready with the tools they need to support their man all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, his following is so adept at using the Internet to help gain traction for their candidate that they were able to raise $1 million in just 24 hours.

The candidate is no stranger when it comes to the online fundraiser:  He famously raised $6 million in one day during his 2008 campaign. But, judging from the fact that he was able to raise $1 million before he officially announced his 2012 candidacy, it's a great start -- and there's definitely room to grow. It also helps that the money raised was pegged to the South Carolina debate last week, and that state is going to be one of the first battlegrounds that Paul will have to win in order to secure the GOP nomination.

Also helping Ron Paul's case? He's now backed by the Tea Party. Nicknamed the "Tea Party godfather" by the online conservative movement, the group is strongly supporting his bid, and that translates to additional mainstream media attention on and offline. Add to that the fact that he is coming in as a recognizable candidate because this is his second bid, and Paul is turning out to be one of the favored Republicans who have announced their intentions so far.

And, he's done all this without losing the love of the people who originally supported him way back when.  Listen to this Ron Paul-inspired rap as further evidence.