SEATTLE — The running joke about Twitter is that it allows people to share what they ate for breakfast. For the Nevada caucuses we will get voting results to accompany our bacon and eggs.
The Nevada Republican Party has announced it will use Twitter to share minute-by-minute voting results from their Feb 3 caucus.
This is not the first time a public platform has been used by a state party to tally and share results: the GOP used Google in the Iowa caucus for mapping and tracking purposes, which created unexpected competition for the Associated Press (AP), the established authority on official vote results. Why? Google was faster, and free.
Speed is prized in a news cycle, and with shrinking news bureau budgets, costs are an issue. Twitter and Google are appealing on both counts: they deliver data with dazzling efficiency, at a price you can’t beat. But unlike tweets waxing poetic about a fresh baked scone or heavenly fruit smoothie, accuracy is paramount when it comes to vote counting.
There is no doubt that Twitter takes the pulse of events well, with hashtags aggregating an experience, as was reported back in June at one of the first GOP debates. But while Twitter excels at capturing an emotional snapshot, how will it perform in this new capacity? The UW Election Eye 2012 team plans to find out next week, when we will be in Nevada to cover the caucus. Follow our movements on Twitter through the #uwelectioneye hashtag: Nevada could represent the ultimate disruption for Twitter, or an unmitigated disaster.