August 15, 2012, 10:44 AM — Data analytics firm Atigeo has released an online tool designed to help voters quickly research the positions of the two major U.S. presidential candidates on a wide range of election issues.
The tool uses a contextual semantic search technology to let users pull data from the social media feeds of both President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, and their respective parties' Twitter, RSS feeds and Facebook pages.
The tool (available at Red2012Blue.com and Blue2012Red.com) lets voters use simple search terms to pull up every Tweet, Facebook post and blog item that either candidate or their respective parties have posted on the issue.
All of the search results are organized by party. Users can click on each result to see the raw material and drag each search result to a 'relation box' in the center of the screen to get an immediate view of all related content from both sides. All results are organized and presented to the user based on relevance to the original query.
An embedded data visualization tool lets users view the search results for a particular query in 3D format. Users can rotate the image, zoom in on specific results and move it around to see if they can find any non-obvious or unforeseen relationships in the results.
The goal is to "present the content being shared by the candidates and their parties via social networks in a completely agnostic manner" and in their original raw format, said Christopher Burgess, chief operating officer and chief security officer of Atigeo. The tool currently tracks 12 data feeds across both parties.
Burgess did not say how many tweets or others posts are being generated each day, but noted that Democrats have been out-producing Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin in terms of the overall number of posts being tracked.
A quick Computerworld review of the tool shows that users can indeed pull in a lot of data from both parties' social media posts. However, not all of the results appeared to be relevant to the query. Searching for posts related to "cybersecurity," for instance, generated links to tweets and posts on economic security, job security and physical security. The tool does not allow users to sort or filter results, as Atigeo's commercial implementations allow.