Twitter Election Site Highlights New Media’s Relevancy

    September 26, 2008
    Chris Crum

Last night Twitter launched an Election site that features Tweets involving the presidential and vice presidential candidates rolling in almost faster than you can read them. In Twitter’s words, "We’re filtering hundreds of Twitter updates per minute to create a new source for gathering public opinion about the presidential election and a new way for you to share your thoughts."

This is just the latest in efforts from social sites to get users more involved with the U.S. presidential election. Digg’s been at it for a while. Facebook is talking about it. It all just really highlights this election as a landmark one as far as the public getting involved, in large part thanks to new media. New media was in its infancy the last time we had an election, and now it is in high gear, and it’s giving the public not only a forum to voice their opinions, but a platform from which they can actually be heard by a lot of people.

The popularity of sites like Digg, Twitter, and Facebook (and others) just emphasizes the potential impact this can really have on the outcome of the election. With so many voices talking about the candidates and who is doing what, and who said what to whom, etc, voters don’t necessarily have to form their opinions based on what they see and hear from mainstream traditional media outlets (whether you view this as a good thing or a bad thing). It is very similar to what I talked about in this post at PureBlogging.

Google’s working on a tool called In Quotes, which allows you to pinpoint quotes from news stories by certain people, and the presidential candidates are currently highlighted here as well. This tool, currently in its infancy, still has a lot of work that needs to be done, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a full-fledged feature of Google News by the next election. This will just provide even more ammo for bloggers and journalists and those having conversations on social sites.

I think this year is the first of many where blogs and social media will play a truly significant role in helping voters to form their opinions on candidates and ultimately help them decide who they want to vote for (even if only on a subconscious level). Of course at this point, I think most people are pretty much set on who they’re going to vote for. For more on Twitter’s site, there’s a post on the Twitter blog.