The guys at TweetMinster.co.uk have launched a free Adobe AIR Twitter client that lets users track, follow and engage around UK politics in real time.
Still in beta, the TweetMinster Wire comes with preset groups to allow people to follow and access the Twitter streams of MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates, all major parties, parliament and government departments and those coming out of 10 Downing Street – all literally at the press of a button.
It features an algorithmic secret sauce that captures and tracks relevant conversations around those Twitter streams. People can search and filter conversations by party and politician, and compare the occurrence of topics and trends overtime within a dynamic graph.
It also hooks in The Guardian’s Open Platform API to add context to the stats; by accompanying tracked topics with news, users can see why a topic peaked on a specific day by seeing its references within those days’ articles.
Users can participate within these conversations, tying in to TweetMinster’s aims to foster an active community around UK politics.
Back in March, the TweetMinster chaps posted an insight into “socialness” analysing data gathered around MP-generated content and conversations. At the time, the average MP had 358 followers, followed 96 people and had posted 177 times to Twitter. Of course, things move fast online, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the team when developing the Wire app.
Co-founder Alberto Nardelli says the more complex aspects of development were figuring out how to define relevance, given that what’s current today will be passé tomorrow; and identifying the connectors in conversations, such as political journalists.
The company is punting TweetMinster Wire as a “social Bloomberg for UK politics”, and has a bundle of additional features planned, some of which will be premium services which Nardelli assures me will be as affordable as a magazine subscription.
Among the upcoming features are the addition of other datasets for sentiment analysis, maps to place the online activity and conversations in geographic context, and support for mobile devices. TweetMinster eventually aims to build the Wire up into a Google Trends for Twitter.
The TweetMinster Wire is the latest release in a collection of apps which allow users to get a feel for social media trends in the context of UK politics, such as the Tweetometer which allows you to pitch two political topics against each other to see which is more popular.
TweetMinster was launched as a web service in December 2008, inspired by TweetCongress tracking Twitter usage amongst US Congresspeople and by a tweet conversation between Nardelli and MP Tom Watson. Looking at the progress that TweetMinster’s made since then, I wouldn’t be surprised if TweetCongress comes a-calling at TweetMinster’s door for a few pointers.