[UK] Twitter and politics go hand in hand in the UK. There isn’t a news, politics or current affairs TV show that doesn’t mention Twitter or feature the ‘tweets’ of its viewers. It seems appropriate then that British political anoraks should have their own Twitter-powered search engine, which is exactly what London-based startup Tweetminster have built.
Tweetminster Search doesn’t just look for tweets that feature keywords related to UK politics, however. It aims to be a lot smarter than that. To begin with, not all tweets are treated equal. Tweetminster Search is based on an index of known political twitterers, made up politicians, news sources, bloggers and the wider-public. The index will grow over time too as it seeks out further connections by analysing the conversations taking place between its initial index of users and those that they converse with.
But perhaps most ambitiously, Tweetminster claims to be able to measure sentiment on any political issue, as well as how opinions have changed over time.
Users can enter a single search term (e.g. budget deficit) or up to or up to three multiple terms (e,g. Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, prime minister) separated by commas, after which they are provided with:
- The number of relevant tweets about the subject over time (volume)
- How these tweets break down into positive, negative and neutral opinions (sentiment)
- The reach and visibility of tweets around any topic
- The individuals with the most impact on the subject (influencers)
- Other related information – associated terms and issues, links to relevant URLs and a location breakdown for where the terms are being discussed the most.
Although the service is currently in Beta, Tweetminster has plans to add a raft of new features, including “more granular control of the data, new data sources and more advanced filters.” And as is the norm these days, Tweetminster Search will soon be publishing its own API so that third-parties can access, use and manipulate the search engine’s raw data. In other words, a service (Tweetminster Search) built on top of another service’s API (Twitter) will soon enable others to in turn do the same, which seems a bit like a dog chasing its own tail. But hey, that’s progress for you.