TalkingPointsTwitter
July 24, 2009 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Talking Points Memo has put together an excellent resource for keeping up with happenings in Washington.

Whatever else Twitter might be, we've found it a good way to keep tabs on politicos and reporters, what they're doing, saying and so forth. Pols make unguarded or revealing statements, sometimes just helpful heads-ups on events or statements; reporters give early tips on stories. And just atmospherically you can get a feel for what certain groups of people are thinking and talking about.


With that, enjoy Twitter feeds aggregated at TPM for Elected Democrats on Capitol Hill, Elected Republicans on Capitol Hill, Democratic and liberal insiders, Republican and conservative insiders, and reporters and bloggers.
posted by lazaruslong (27 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Holy crap, they're trying to take away Title X money from Planned Parenthood? I'm disturbed by how much support that amendment got.

Great resource, thanks for the post.
posted by gurple at 12:31 PM on July 24, 2009


It's a good idea, but is it okay for TPM to take other peoples' content and repost it on their page with their ads? Why does TPM deserve to make money for this?
posted by martens at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2009


Because someone's got to!
posted by palidor at 12:41 PM on July 24, 2009


It's like what my Facebook home page would look like if my friends were mostly old white guys.

But seriously, this is neat.

Why does TPM deserve to make money for this?

Because they did it and no one else did.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter has both ads and embedded video. It is the way of Internet.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2009


Is this how I'm going to have to consume my news now? Christ.

Seriously, people who like and will follow this: why?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2009


Seriously, people who like and will follow this: why?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:47 PM


"...a good way to keep tabs on politicos and reporters, what they're doing, saying and so forth. Pols make unguarded or revealing statements, sometimes just helpful heads-ups on events or statements; reporters give early tips on stories. And just atmospherically you can get a feel for what certain groups of people are thinking and talking about."
posted by lazaruslong at 12:49 PM on July 24, 2009


Talking Points Memo almost gives me hope for the future of the nation.
posted by JHarris at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


As soon as said politicos and reporters wise up to this, there will not be a single word uttered that was not carefully vetted and researched by senior staff to make sure that messages are as consistent as possible. The usefulness of this will dwindle to nil as it becomes just another outlet for spin.
posted by briank at 12:52 PM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


It is s less than news. If atmospheric means a lack of context, no thanks.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2009


MetaFilter has both ads and embedded video. It is the way of Internet.

I guess it just feels weird because these pages exclusively feature other people's content. TPM doesn't contribute any context or comments as we do here. I'm not expressly against it, I'm just wondering whether this combo of curation and attribution amounts to valuable editorial input.
posted by martens at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2009


Thanks for the post. This resource solves a lot of problems I've had keeping up with my favorite politicians, since I've taken an irrational and dogmatic stance against Twitter, but can't get Grassley to accept my Friend requests.
posted by njbradburn at 1:06 PM on July 24, 2009


I think part of the idea is to catch little things that might end up hinting at something, or could blow up. not just following polititians because they are so interesting. I was going to link to This story about how Claire McCaskill voted against a law that would allow people to carry guns, including concealed weapons across state lines by arguing that it could open the door for the federal government to mandate that states honor eachother's marriage licenses. But it turns out she actually made the comment on TV or somewhere and then just tweeted a followup.

She also sent out a self-congratulating tweet a couple months ago bragging about taking all the "silly" stuff (like extra money for struggling states) out of the stimulus bill.
posted by delmoi at 1:06 PM on July 24, 2009


> is it okay for TPM to take other peoples' content and repost it on their page with their ads?

TPM is not claiming ownership of the aggregated info or even the concept of aggregating politicians' tweets. TPM is providing the service of running the feed that tracks all these accounts, the service of creating the feeds grouped by topic, the human effort of adding and removing Twitter accounts from the aggregate as the Congress members change. The ads offset the expense of the human effort needed to set up and maintain the feeds, and the technical costs of hosting and bandwidth.

Granted, the costs of hosting and bandwidth are marginal, but so is the income from web ads. It works out. But those who have a problem with the commercial context are free to set up their own. In fact, it would be interesting if more people did, for example interleaving the tweets of party leaders with, say, the tweets of aligned lobbyists.
posted by ardgedee at 1:11 PM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess it just feels weird because these pages exclusively feature other people's content.

The same could be said of Twitter itself! Think of it more as a means of content distribution rather than content production.

I'm just wondering whether this combo of curation and attribution amounts to valuable editorial input.

No one, least of all TPM, is claiming that it does. The aggregation is the added value.
posted by JohnFredra at 1:24 PM on July 24, 2009


without this I would not have known that US Congressperson Dave Camp hates turtles! From what I can tell, the Democrats are giving the 3.4 million dollars directly to the turtles so they can build the crossing themselves without pesky human intervention.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2009


I suppose I'm reacting against the idea that anybody's twitter feed is fair game to be used without permission for commerical purposes. Clearly, for the reasons ardgedee listed, this is not a glaring or abusive example, but it does reveal just how little regard people have for copyright on twitter. I mean, if I scraped a bunch of rss feeds and posted them on my ad-laden site, people would be pissed, even if I linked back to the original sources. But this is essentially the same thing and nobody bats an eye.
posted by martens at 1:32 PM on July 24, 2009


"Misinformatio accuses me of supportin ObamaCare NOT TRUE I M at table making sure Govt takeovr doesn't happen,protect patience,and taxpayers"

— Chuck Grassley, the apparently thirteen year-old Senator from Iowa
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grassley is protecting patience?

GODDAMNIT OBAMA, YOU CAN HAVE MY PATIENCE WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM COLD, FAT UN-EXERCISED HANDS.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on July 24, 2009


martens: The ethics are somewhat mushy when you take the long view, but there's still no easy way to codify republishing content online, and people have been making efforts to do so for a while now -- the best anybody's been able to agree on is that good-faith behavior gets a lot more latitude than bad-faith behavior, but that's not overly helpful.

In a sense, blogging isn't really possible as we understand it without some liberal attitudes towards creative control: Quoting people and reposting their pictures are how information spreads online; good-faith bloggers are diligent about excerpting and attributing properly, people in it for a quick buck swipe funny photos, put their own watermarks on 'em and treat them as their own.

In the case of hosting Congressional tweets, Twitter itself has a very liberal policy regarding access and publication, and an API whose primary restrictions are on the volume of data dumped, not on what is done with that data. Everybody in TPM's Twitter aggregator are attributed properly, so their work isn't being pirated as much as being redistributed with appropriate references and backlinks to their sources.
posted by ardgedee at 1:52 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh ... ELINT intel and content analysis could be a snap with this.
posted by Relay at 2:09 PM on July 24, 2009


but it does reveal just how little regard people have for copyright on twitter

true, but the copyright that one has on a tweet isn't necessarily enforceable, and according to at least one copyright wonk, in most, if not all cases they aren't.

I would assume that the RSS feeds that you'd be scraping would be of enforceable content, which I think is an important distinction.
posted by JohnFredra at 2:10 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I appreciate the link - need to be clear here that I'm not bashing the poster or the post; the contents made me cringe but I needed to see that!

With that, my reactions were: Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Fun. Oooh reporters can be amusing!

My favorite so far:

Joan Dickerson
friend suggested I travel cross country living only on generosity of Twitter followers. It would be awesome & I'd up as someone's lampshade

The legislative twits were just ads, and the "insider" twits were just so ... wonky. I love me a good nerd, but these men take it too far.

Some of the reporters seemed to at least have a sense of humor, or at least humanity, and are willing to let it leak into their twits.
posted by kanewai at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2009


Chuck Grassley is famously teenager-like in his tweets.
posted by lackutrol at 2:28 PM on July 24, 2009


With that, my reactions were: Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Fun. Oooh reporters can be amusing!

I can understand that reaction. I'm the first to admit that TPM's style is already sort of geared towards people with an interest in the details of politics that borders on extreme. They really are political nerds in the most complimentary form possible.

Combine that intrinsic bent with the minutia-scraping detail that is codifying semantic and contextual trends using Twitter into some more detailed or athletic knowledge of the real time progression of American politics, and you have a dedicated userbase that is probably pretty small.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:16 PM on July 24, 2009


If atmospheric means a lack of context, no thanks.

Sometimes, lack of context is context. This stuff can be interesting specifically because it showcases the collision of the often-carefully-honed PR sensibilities of the political machine with the uncareful gossipiness of the human politicians behind it.

There's no guarantee that reading it will be fascinating in a vacuum, but I can guarantee that to a political junkie this stuff is unprecedented gold. It's the closest folks outside of the beltway will ever get to sitting around with a senator after two too many drinks.

without this I would not have known that US Congressperson Dave Camp hates turtles!

Somewhere in the greater Portland metro area, a young man in facepaint is seething.
posted by cortex at 6:54 PM on July 24, 2009


They added a "Who's in this room?" feature to each Twitter Room today. This just drops down a list of all the people aggregated in the particular category you are viewing.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:25 PM on July 27, 2009


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