TwitVoteUK: the aftermath


It’s over a week since the election, and how did TwitVoteUK end up? On a pure results level it was completely wide of the real result. Overall we had around two-thirds of votes for the Liberal Democrats, against 23% in the election. Labour and the Conservatives came second and third, but with 10% and about 7% respectively. Lots of the seats that we had votes recorded for only had one vote, meaning that the likes of the Pirate Party UK would have won seats according to our poll. The overall percentages were similar to other online polls, such as CountMyVote, so I’m not disappointed with the final stats. We did reflect the mood of Twitter, which anyone would have seen by following either the #ge2010 or #ukelection tags. We received just over 1500 votes from unique Twitter users, with many people voting more than once, and taking advantage of our facilities to change your vote without having duplicates. In my opinion, to have produced good numbers for each constituency we would have needed at least 100 votes per seat, or 65000 overall, which was far too difficult without some relentless advertising and press coverage. We did get a piece in the Isle of Wight County Press and the Ventnor Blog, both of which managed to drive the Isle of Wight seat to the top of our leaderboard for number of votes.

We received some positive comments in technical blogs, such as Andy Piper and James Governor. I was very pleased to get respect bloggers and social media people giving positive feedback on what we’d done on the site. Also, Ben Marsh, whose uksnow website was the inspiration, tweeted some very positive comments:

If I was going to build a #uksnow inspired election map app, I’d probably end up with something like @twitvoteuk. Nice work chaps. #ge2010

In terms of the result, okay, it was not where near the election result, but it did show that you could gather seat-by-seat data and display that on a map. The gap between each vote and it appearing on the web was no more than two minutes, and it would be fairly straightforward to reduce the window quite considerably. The technology we were using allowed us to restrict each Twitter user to holding only one vote, and to only voting within intervals we set, normally 24 hours. It was quick to change that window, for example during the leaders’ debates we cut it to 5 minutes, so that people could be influenced by what they were watching.

Going forward, we’ve got something on the go that will have more world wide appeal, and some improvements to the backend in order to make it more robust and increase the response time between the vote and the map being updated.

Finally, thanks to Chris Phillips and Ben Hardill, with whom I’ve been working on this with. There is no way I could have done this on my own because I have insufficient knowledge about web technologies to have scoured Twitter for the votes or to do the website, and Chris is really pushing the rest of us on the next rev.

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One Response to “TwitVoteUK: the aftermath”

  1. Tweets that mention TwitVoteUK: the aftermath « Kieronb1's Blog -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kieron Brear. Kieron Brear said: My Blog: TwitVoteUK: the aftermath: It’s over a week since the election, and how did TwitVoteUK end up? On a pure … http://bit.ly/9mnhMS […]

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