Home Politweets: Twittering Politics

Politweets: Twittering Politics

I went out to dinner last night, and when I came home and switched on my TV, John McCain had already won the Republican primary in New Hampshire. But on the Democratic side, it was too close to call — just about 2300 votes separated Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, with the college town of Hanover still left to count. After I watched McCain’s speech, I went downstairs to my office, and things were still too close to project a winner. I got absorbed in something and forgot to turn on the TV, but I kept my eye on a new site called Politweets.

Then sometime after 10pm ET the posts started coming: “AP reporting Clinton won NH primary.” “CBS picks Clinton the winner” “msnbc sez clinton” I immediately switched on my TV and was able to catch Obama’s concession and Hillary victory speech.

The people who make Politweets, which I’d come across earlier in the day via The Social Times, also make Twittertale, another Twitter filter, which pulls out all the posts with naughty words. While Twittertale is fun, Politweets is actually useful. As my example from last night illustrates, the site clearly demonstrates Twitter’s ability to disseminate newsworthy information quickly and effectively — and in a conversation atmosphere.

Some sports leagues may be cracking down on live blogging, but as we have suggested, Twitter is going to become a more and more important way for people to report on news as they see it happen. Whether that is “Turn on the TV, something is happening!” or “The score is 87-84 with 23 seconds left,” Twitter is becoming a useful tool for citizen journalism.

With a week until Nevada, the Twittersphere has turned its attention to discussing why Hillary won and Obama lost, and how Obama can regain his mojo. On the Republican side, everyone just seems to be trying to figure out who really is the front-runner. It’s an interesting discussion to watch on both sides and has already led me to some articles on other sites that I’d likely have missed otherwise. For political junkies, Politweet will be a must monitor web-site on every primary date this season until we know who the candidates for the general election are.

The site also has a ranking of candidate popularity (based on how many times their name has been mentioned on Twitter). Surprisingly, Twitter seems to be one of the few places that Ron Paul isn’t ulta-popular — he is third among Republicans in terms of Twitter exposure.

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