Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Twitter as an opinion tool - as used to follow the US election

Just as organisations are beginning to listen to the conversations about them on forums, in blogs and in online newspaper comments, Twitter has become a powerful and important mechanism for tracking US public opinion during the US Presidential election.

In a custom-built application, Twitter has used its search and trending tools to build an updating commentary on the election, visible at http://election.twitter.com.

Thinking back to the days of tickertape news releases and stock updates, this is a high-tech equivalent reflecting the views of US Twitter users.

With the integration of a mention weighting system and positive/negative indications,it would be possible for any politician or organisation to get a 24/7 view of their public sentiment.

Any sudden changes in the normal flow of comments could then be mined to detect and pre-emptively prepare for issues before they reach the broader media.

For the sceptics, who do not see Twitter as a valid channel for government communication with the public or media, here's a list of US government 'A-list' Twitterers, including the White House, Senator Obama and a selection of State Governors and large US agencies.

And for those who like poetry and the big picture, 3D Twittervision provides an interesting global insight - particularly during major crises.

2 comments:

  1. Do you think that the Australian Government offices could introduce twitter internally without having it run away with what happened last night on Desperate Housewives.

    There are so many great networking/communication tools out there but they are often abused by general staff and as such, no longer considered for government (especially when it comes to Local Gov)

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  2. Hi Justin,

    There are policies, procedures and codes of conduct in place to address abuses.

    Surely if we can manage to allow staff to all have a phone and email we can give them access to some other networking/communications tools.

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