by InvestorPlace Staff | May 30, 2012 5:38 pm
Politicians who think their Twitter gaffes can be fixed by simply deleting their tweets are in for a rude awakening.
The Sunlight Foundation has created a web site, Politwoops, which is designed to save Twitter messages deleted by the official accounts of politicians and presidential candidates.
Unlike more traditional political messaging methods, such as campaign speeches or interviews, Twitter is a more ephemeral media. Tweets deleted from the site often disappear forever, unless someone is there to notice them and save them. That’s what Politwoops is designed to do, according to Tom Lee, director of Sunlight Labs.
“Politwoops identifies when politicians or their staffs are editing errors or rephrasing a tweet, providing a window into what politicians are thinking and how campaigns hone their social media messaging.”
Sometimes, the reasons for deleting a tweet are fairly mundane, like fixing typos, staffers posting messages on the wrong account, or avoiding cross-posting on both Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter. Other deletions are more significant, like when Rep. Jeff Miller’s, R-Fla., official account posted a link to a Facebook poll asking “Was Obama born in the United States?” The message was deleted — eventually followed by Miller’s entire Twitter account — but Politwoops preserved the message via screengrab.
Politwoops tracks when a deleted message was originally posted, followed by how long the message stayed posted before being deleted.
For more information on Politwoops, check out this Politico article, or the Politwoops web site. For a list of tweets that President Barack Obama’s account has deleted, check out this link.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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