These are some notes I wrote a year ago for some radio interviews I did about Politwitter & tweeting MPs.
Why you felt it was important to create a centralized political twitter for Canadians
I figured that many people wouldn’t want to follow others of different partisan leanings but were still interested in what they had to say.
So having a site that aggregates all political tweets and filters by partisan affiliation is useful to those people that want to read and interact but not necessarily become a “follower”.
The other main reason is to create a directory of all the MPs, MLAs and other notable political tweeters. So it’s easy for people to find their local MP.
The site also has a directory of political hashtags making it easy for people to learn the meaning of the often cryptic acronyms. Since the site launched in April, 2009 I have defiantly noticed an increase in hashtag usage among the Canadian political twittersphere.
And once everything is all in one place, one can start to compile interesting statistics and trends.
What exactly does PoliTwitter do?
Politwitter fetches tweets using Twitters API using 4 methods.
When someone visits politwitter the tweets are usually loaded from this internal database, making the loading fast. Twitter can often be very slow or go down completely because of this setup, politwitter still loads even if twitter goes down.
The other main function of Politwitter is to encourage those MPs not on Twitter to join. The site allows users to search for their MP or riding then send emails and tweets encouraging them to join.
The goal of Politwitter has evolved is to be the "go to" place for all news & social media related to your federal & provincial elected representatives. Politwitter tracks an MPs social media activity, bringing in their Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook, blogs, news, hansard & more all under one roof.
What were your goals for users when you created the site?
Along with all the passive functionality I wanted to make the site a fully functional Twitter application. So users can login and tweet, reply, retweet and post pictures directly from the site.
I also wanted to give lots of control to uses on how they can filter the political tweets.
And allow users to view politwitter on many platforms, the website, mobile phone version, widgets, Facebook app and RSS feeds.
The benefits to the public
How does Twitter make a politician more accountable to the public?
Does the new age of communication truly make government more accessible to the public?
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