The Washington Canard
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Well folks, this is it. After two years of the longest presidential campaign ever -- and one hopes it can't get any longer -- the polls are open and people are standing in line all across America. Or, given the early hour, all across the Eastern time zone. And this time around people are doing something they couldn't the last: posting their thoughts to Twitter via mobile device.

Why do I bring all this up? Because New Media Strategies (where I work and whence I type) has teamed up with Tropicana (the orange juice makers, not the casino resort) to create a Twitter-focused data visualization tool that we're calling Fresh Squeezed Election Tweets, and just went live a few moments ago at

The site is continuously collecting tweets using the words "Obama" and "McCain", counting up which other words appear with them -- Vote, Election, Country -- and other words that appear frequently -- Bush, War, Lie (no one said Twitter was fair and balanced) -- and representing this frequency by the size of the associated blue-red bubble. The bluer it is, the closer-aligned the keyword is with Obama; the more red, the more it's McCain. And see the black lines connecting? Those show you which words are used together most: if you mouseover the keywords, you'll get actual percentages. Did I mention it's embeddable? I don't think I did. Here, let me: It's embeddable.

Is that cool, or what? Feel free to use it in your own posts and check back throughout the day, as the data set changes and perhaps reveals some insight into the day's events. We might already have a pretty good idea who will be president-elect by day's end, but Freshly Squeezed Election Tweets may help give a better idea why.

Cross-posted from Blog P.I.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Every week, my employer circulates a staff newsletter of sorts, an extended e-mail with news from each department and light features spotlighting various people. One of these poses "the same five questions" to one of the NMS team, and this week it was my turn. Here are my answers:
1.) If your life were a movie, what would it be called?

Fear & Loathing in Washington, DC

2.) What’s your favorite thing in the whole world?

I’m searching desperately for a reason not to say “my iPhone.” How about I just say “the possibilities of the written word” and let’s pretend that’s what I really think.

3.) If you could switch places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?.

Harrison Ford, circa 1977-1997. Pretty much any day would do. I don’t think “why” is an applicable question.

4.) What is your favorite and least favorite word?

Favorite: Zing! I’d like to consider myself a popularizer of the term.

Least favorite: Crepuscule. It means twilight, but who would guess that? What twilight as ever been so ugly as to be called a “crepuscule”? Also, numerous moths, beetles and other insects are considered “crepuscular” because they’re most active at dusk. Revolting.

5.) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Drinks are on the house, forever and ever, Amen.”
The original version ran with my picture, but I think I'll save us all the embarrassment.

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