Election season is here, and with the US Presidential race heating up, there's a lot to keep up with. A new web site, UniteBlue, aims to help progressives find each other on Twitter and organize themselves for political activism.
Built by the father-and-son team of Adam and Zach Green (previously profiled here on ProgrammableWeb for their 2012twit election mashup), UniteBlue is unabashedly partisan--it's right there in the domain name, and even the site's filtering technology is named BlueRank. As founder Zach Green explains in a press release today, BlueRank "sorts our list of [Twitter] accounts by their progressive activism, their level of engagement on Twitter, and their overall influence." The UniteBlue web site FAQ claims this work, including manual reviews of automatically identified accounts, has resulted in "the largest and most carefully selected list of progressives and Democrats available for Twitter."
When a user connects her Twitter account to UniteBlue, she gains access to that list of Twitter accounts, which can be further filtered by state and followed with a single click. UniteBlue analyzes standard Twitter metrics like number of followers, number of retweets, and how often an account has been listed by others, and also estimates how "on the Left" a particular user is by looking at keywords in his Twitter bio, whether he is following or retweeting Democratic politicians, and how often "progressive" hashtags are used in his tweets. The results are displayed using "heat map" coloration to provide a profile overview.
Of course, no Twitter app would be complete without some navel-gazing, and UniteBlue offers "Tracking" and "Results" tabs to show how influential your activity has been--specifically, whether others have followed you back after you followed them. The founders hope their tools will allow users "to amplify the political effectiveness of any Twitter account in just a few minutes a day."
If you're interested in using social media to talk politics, check out the Greens' election strategy site at 140elect.com (a reference to Twitter's 140-character message limit) and Adam Green's API programming blog at 140dev.com.