Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote Watch

Social media as tools for election-monitoring are being put to their first U.S. presidential election test. Vote Report (which I wrote about here two weeks ago, when it launched) is a nationwide project that is asking anyone with a cellphone, personal digital assistant, iPhone, or computer and a Twitter account to immediately share any first-hand knowledge of voting irregularities via instant-messaging. You, too, can participate. For more information, check out project partner National Public Radio's recent podcast about the initiative here. (Also worth checking out is Twitter's general election 2008 page, the fast-running Twitter stream of commentary by voters heading into the final hours of this historic election cycle. Much of the chatter this morning alludes to voting delays and massive turnout that could slow final tallies.)

YouTube, meanwhile, has been working with PBS to organize its Video the Vote project, a national project that asks voters to shoot short videos with their cellphones or digital video cameras to document any examples of vote suppression or other problems—and then post them to the site. "This is a way to spotlight voter experience...and get people to show and share experiences where there have been exceedingly long lines, voter intimidation, or broken machines," says Steve Grove, head of news and politics for YouTube. "We want people to use YouTube to get those messages out to the world." Want to participate? Click here for a video about how.

Other non-partisan election-monitoring and voter-information sites worth checking out include:

* iDashboards: a running string of results from the election that allows you to roll your mouse over states to see up-to-the-hour voting results so far.
* Social Median: a news aggregator with an election page that includes blogs and Twitter posts, along with an array of videos that can be filtered easily
* Topix election site: a national, digital debate by topic.
* a site that shows up-to-the-minute projections of who's winning, for political junkies who want to track the last-minute whims of the undecideds, all the way up to the concession speeches.
* a daily digest of Web content that tracks the election.

And here's one of my favorites, Shifting the Debate, which measures the movement of ideas through social networks, chiefly tracking which YouTube videos bloggers are linking to on both sides of the political spectrum. It is creating an ongoing portrait of video political commentary, with the site's Video Barometer displaying who's watching which videos, and which are most popular at any given time. Fascinating.

Go ahead, share your favorite electon sites and give us a head's up about your favorite election videos. And don't forget to vote.

(Illustration, Angry Elephant, by Diane Labombarbe for

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Blogger Rebecca said...

WOW. Thanks for sharing all these sites and information with us. I am a little boggled by Twitter ... I read pretty fast, but even I can't keep up with the rapid-fire commentary by these (dare I say it) Twits! I have become a major Facebook fan in the last few months and again, am amazed by the outpouring of election information found on this site and the others you mentioned. Much appreciated.

November 4, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous strino said...

Marcia, Thank you for putting this altogether. I was aware of a couple of social media endeavors such as Vote Report and the PBS project, but it's great to have all these outlets and links in one place. I just voted and there were a few irregularities that I found very disturbing. I'm going to go to as many of these sites as I can now to spread the word. Thanks again for the great info (and congratulations on your terrific blog--keep it up!).

November 4, 2008 at 10:46 AM  

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