Rick Santorum is still gaining momentum on the Web after three stunning wins in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado on Tuesday night. The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania beat out front-runner Mitt Romney in all three contests. He swiftly saw a corresponding boost in his stats on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Shortly before the results were announced on Tuesday night, Santorum had 105,000 fans. Just 24 hours after his decisive wins in the heartland, he had gained well over 10,000 new fans. During that same 24-hour period, Romney gained less than half that amount.

Santorum has quite a lot of catching up to do, though: Romney still ended Wednesday night with 1,406,603 fans.

On Twitter, mentions of Santorum continued to soar, besting Romney on Wednesday. According to Topsy.com, Santorum garnered more than 40,000 mentions on Feb. 7, while Romney was only mentioned 34,000 times.

Of course the big question, as always, is where do the candidates go from here? In the past, social media sites such as Facebook have closely paralleled the polls.

What we can gather from Santorum’s rally on Facebook is that he'll likely put up a good fight in Arizona and Michigan, but ultimately fall short of Romney, who has more money and a better organization. Although the former Massachusetts governor doesn't have the momentum, he has the math; in the delegate race and on social media, he is light-years ahead of everyone else.

For Santorum to put up a formidable challenge against Romney, he'll need to continue to campaign in both the physical world and online. He'll also need to stop treating Twitter like it's Facebook

Photo by Gage Skidmore