Twitter’s Election Tools Track Voting Conditions, Voter Opinions
It’s election day here in the United States and that means yet another huge test for the Twitter servers — will they hold up under the potentially crushing load of anxious voters tracking election results?
That remains to be seen (we’re optimists, so we say yes), but the site has certainly put a quite a lot of effort into building cool election-tracking tools and so far they appear to be doing just fine.
The Twitter Vote Report, as its name implies, is a tool for voters to share their voting experiences via Twitter. So long as you use the proscribed hashtags, Twitter will collect your posts up with the rest and display them on a map to track any voting issues (long lines, broken machines, etc.) in real time.
The list of suggested hashtags includes: #wait:[minutes], #good or #bad, #[zip code], and #machine or $reg (to report issues with machine or registration problems). So if you wanted to report your four-hour wait in, say, downtown Los Angeles, it would look something like this:
#votereport things are #good in #90013 but there's a line #wait:240
Naturally not everything with the hashtag #votereport is strictly informative, but it’s already possible to see where lines are the longest and which machines might be having problems (just look for the red dots on the Google Map).
if you’re looking for something a little more opinionated, check out Twitter’s Election 2008 page which offers real-time updates and serves a place for Twitterers to share their thoughts about the candidates and issues. There’s even some sidebar links to isolate posts about only a particular presidential/vice-presidential candidate. There’s also some links to the profiles of Newsweek, NPR and other news agencies and political pundits.
Of course Twitter itself isn’t the only source of cool Twitter tools. Probably the coolest external mashup is Twittervision’s election page, which offers the usual Twittervision world- map view, but limits the tweets to election-related posts. Twittervision lets you see not just what you fellow Americans are doing, but also tracks posts from around the globe.
Finally, if you’d like to participate in a mock election, Twitvote is doing just that. Head over to the site and plug in your Twitter credentials to participate.