Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Politweets.com -- Following the Election via Twitter

Here is a good one: "Obama is Apple, Hilary is Dell: http://tinyurl.com/2sfd72 (via Seeking Alpha) --ericlitman reported 2 minutes ago." I have no idea who Eric Litman is and never would have seen this cool article on Seeking Alpha if it hadn't been for this really ingenious web app that searches Twitter for "tweets" about all of the political candidates:


As many people have ridiculed Twitter as being useless as have adopted it as a core part of their online toolset. So with the pro-twitter and con-twitter lines having been drawn, it is refreshing to get an application like Politweets which brings out the really intriguing aspect of Twitter -- the ability to tap into the pulse of some very interesting distributed event (like an election) and see what is happening.

My friend Doug March is one of the people behind Character140, the group that has created the Politweets application. But lest anyone think that they are only trying to show Twitter's good side, last month they released a similar tool called Twittertale.com which shows the use of foul language on Twitter.

Both applications work the same way -- the search through all public Twitter posts to find uses of specific words and display this posts, along the way "ranking" the words for the frequency of their use. In the case of Politweets this also gives us the ability to see how much a candidate is being talked about in real time (at least how much they are being tweeted about).

Is it "citizen journalism" ? I personally think it is more like listening in on a whole bunch of private conversations -- but it is still a fascinating application of social media. And with the primaries in New Hampshire and elsewhere giving us all a lot to talk about, it is also very entertaining and maybe will even give us something to learn about ourselves, our nation, and this radical new kind of community technology.


Eric A. Litman said...

Nice to be randomly noticed.

Thanks, Ted.

marchdoe said...

Thanks Ted, We have some more features coming that will make it even better, so stay tuned.

typographyshop said...

I've just discovered http://twistori.com/

Time suck yes, but beautifully executed. (see it on a Mac, of course)

It scours twitter for the words:

you click on your choice and it feeds posts containing sentences beginning with those words.

Coming from the art world I'd call this a borderline conceptual piece, but it's entertaining and pretty as candy.