Twitter has launched an election themed site that tracks all the political tweets on the service. Twitter regularly determines a set of 'Hot Election Topics' and displays every tweet that fits into these categories in a automatically updating stream. While this is definitely a compelling way to use Twitter, we can't help but wonder if Twitter will bring some of the features of this site to other parts of the service.Just in time for tonight's first presidential debate (which, as we just learned, will indeed take place),
Politweets, of course, has been providing a similar service for quite a while already, but its scope is limited to just filtering out tweets with the candidates' names in it. Twitter, on the other hand, uses a constantly changing set of keywords, which makes it far more dynamic.
Automatic Updates and Memetracking
The most compelling feature of Twitter's election site is actually quite simple: the automatically updating stream. That's one feature we have always missed on our regular Twitter homepages and also one of the most compelling reason to use a desktop client instead of Twitter's site.
The value of a service like this is often not so much in the content of a single tweet, but in the aggregation and real-time view of the discussion. Even Twitter's Summize-based search does not update automatically. We have started to use Monitter to track Twitter conversations when there is a breaking news story because it updates automatically.
In addition, as Josh Catone points out, Twitter sits on a goldmine of similar information that it is not putting to good use yet. Now that they have this infrastructure in place, Twitter could easily create similar sites for other events, or even allow its users to create their own Twitter-based memetrackers in the future.