Want to know who will win the Iowa Caucus? There may now be a more effective tool than exit polls. Twitter, which has already proved an effective tool for gauging reactions to everything from Osama bin Laden’s death to Kim Kardashian’s divorce, is now being used to track candidate buzz in the 2012 elections and is ready for action in today’s caucuses.
The Washington Post launched Tuesday a real-time web app called @MentionMachine that tracks the volume of Twitter and media mentions each candidate receives over time, compares their mentions to other candidates’, and captures sentiment by displaying the most popular stories and tweets related to individual candidates over the past week.
Readers can access the app through a toolbar displayed alongside all Post stories and and blog posts that mention the 2012 candidates. Reporters will also be using the data in their own reporting, and provide much-needed context for various spikes and dips in mention volume.
Cory Haik, execut...