[UK] While we don’t yet have an official date for when Brits will be asked to go to the polls (hint: May 6th), UK startup Tweetminster has rolled out an ‘election special’.
The new site, effectively a mash-up of existing features with a few new ones thrown in for good measure, lets users get a pulse on how well each of the main political parties are fairing through Twitter and the impact that their tweets are having throughout the election campaign.
Along with familiar features, such as search and find your MP or local political party, new to the table is a revamped real-time sentiment tracker in the form of a stock price-style ticker. This claims to reveal sentiment via Twitter for the three main parties and three leaders on a minute-by-minute basis. Tweetminster rightly points out that this could come into its own (or will certainly be entertaining) during the leaders’ debates and live events, regardless of whether or not you believe sentiment can be successfully measured in chunks of 140 characters.
Another election special feature is a campaign map (see below) that shows where in the UK the main parties are currently campaigning based on their tweets and which party is most active in each region.
Finally and, perhaps, most interesting is an experiment in predictive modeling that Tweetminster is running to see if ‘word of mouth’ or specifically activity on Twitter can be analysed to predict the result of the pending UK election. The startup says that its ‘Tweetminster Predicts‘ is inspired by a similar project that took place in Japan during the country’s General Election in which a group of software engineers and PhD graduates from Tokyo University undertook a study analysing the correlation between online buzz and election results.
Overall, Tweetminster’s ‘election special’ is a smart move from the startup, backed by angel investor John Arnold, that should see it gain greater exposure during the run up to the polls. In fact, this is already happening. The company says it’s partnering with various media organisations to complement their election coverage using Tweetminster’s services and data, including the Press Association, Yahoo!, Google and The Guardian newspaper.