Perspctv: An Election Mashup That Proves Nothing, But Looks Good Doing It

With the election rapidly approaching, it’s getting hard to keep track of all of the political news swirling around the web. Perspctv, a new mashup from developer Vineet Choudhary, utilizes 14 web services to try to bring all of the news together in one place.

To monitor current political news, the site searches for the terms “Obama” and “McCain” in Twitter conversations, news articles, and blog posts, and displays updates in real time. Results are presented in attractive graphs, and each candidates’ popularity can be viewed as a function of time.

The site’s most glaring flaw is that it determines popularity by measuring the number of times each candidate’s name is mentioned, without taking the word’s context into account. Obviously, many of these mentions are negative – Obama’s lead across every metric probably isn’t an accurate measure of his popularity. People may just like to talk about him more often.

Choudhary says that he is looking into integrating some kind of natural language algorithm to help separate positive comments from the negative ones, but for the time being we’ll have to settle for this unrefined analysis. And while there may be no significant correlation between Twitter mentions and a candidate’s chance of winning the election, Perspctv is still a good looking site that’s fun to play around with.