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Major update to Politwitter

posted by @cka_politwit on Oct 14, 2010

Today I released a big update to Politwitter with much new functionality and some organizational changes. Politwitter started as an aggregator of political tweets and pictures posted to Twitter. Youtube & flickr were then added soon after. Now the array of social media sources has been expanded to include Facebook Pages, blogs & MPs hansard from the house of commons.

To start with i've only added the Facebook & blog info to federal MPs, but the new sources are not limited to that, the info just needs to be added. I improved the "submit" page to allow submitting modifications to users in the directory. Just type the username and an "edit this user" link will appear. So people can help me populate the database with this new info.

Along with new sources of content, the Twitter functionality has also been expanded. Politwitter now tracks all the links tweeted along with how many times they have been tweeted. This allows you to see what the most popular links of the day, week or month are, creating a useful news source. Politwitter also now tracks tweets retweeted and tweets favorited by Canadian political tweeters.

The "Newsfeed" page shows all the sources in one combined stream, with many filtering options. The newsfeed can also be used while viewing an individual user, seeing all their activity in one stream. Also while viewing a user you can easily switch between all their content sources with the new tabs along the top.

Many new content "blocks" have been added to the right-sidebar, reflecting which page you are currently viewing. The statistics pages have also been overhauled adding many new interesting stats, including the "follow matrix". More stats based on the new social media sources will be added in the future.

The sites navigation system has also been re-organized. Now the top horizontal menu is focused on presenting the different sources of content. The links to the federal parties and provinces have been moved to an intelligent sub menu in the top right. The menu will change and present new options based on what you have selected. It also allows the content to be filtered based off tags. Here is a video demo of the new navigation.

New functionality has also been added, the first being the ability to "like" content. Almost all pieces of content have the "like" button somewhere. Liking content helps others to see what the most favourable content is, its also a way for you to remember content. When logged into the site you can see all the content you've liked and a log of the content everyone is liking. The site also tracks clicks to external content, tracking how many hits they've recieved.

The other major new functionality is an internal "follow" system separate from Twitters following. Folling an MP on Politwitter allows you to track not only their twitter but also all their social media. The follow system allows you to change the content Politwitter displays from everyone in the directory to only the people you are following. You can easily switch between the modes using the toggle buttons at the top of the page. The content stream and most of the side blocks will change to reflect the people you are following. You can manage the people you follow on your settings page.

I have much more planned to expand the new sources of content and more functionality to add. But for now i'm just making sure everything is working smoothly and trying to increase performance. Loading time is a major priority for me, while most pages like the homepage load fast, some pages are getting slower. Often the slower pages are due to communication with Twitter, but most pages on Politwitter load from the internal database. This database is growing ever larger though, with over 1 million tweets and much other data. So i'm working on making this data more efficient.

As always if you find any problems with the site or have any suggestions, feel free to contact me via twitter, email or using the feedback forum.

About Politwitter

Politwitter is a non-partisan service that brings together all the Canadian political twitter, making it easy to connect elected MPs & MLAs with the Canadian people.

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