Today will likely turn out to be one of the most dramatic mid-term elections in recent memory. Pundits will be performing political theater across the country, with network spin doctors relying on scant information or anecdotal evidence to predict wins or qualify losses. But you don't have to rely on their spin any longer--nor must you wait for polls to close or news anchors to report results. In the digital age, you can get a sneak peek at how the election is shaping up in real-time. Here's our guide to following the mid-terms on the real-time Web.
The geo-location app is tracking check-ins at polling stations across the country. Top locations are being monitored, and a list of total check-ins and venues are being compiled as you read this. Check-ins can be broken down by city, district, as well as gender. Don't forget to check-in when you vote to earn a new Foursquare badge.
On Twitter, the @twittermedia is aggregating tweets from top election coverage. Hashtags #ivoted will catalog the number of voters on Twitter (it's remarkable to watch this figure grow in real-time: more than 1000 #ivoted tweets have shot up in a few minutes), while #votereport will bring news about voter experiences. The latter will be compiled on Google Maps on twittervotereport.com.
Most impressively though is the New York Times amazing second-by-second visualization of election tweets and retweets, which bubble up or down by candidate depending on their mentions. The tweets are organized chronologically, and can be broken down by politician or party, to see tweets about a candidate, from a candidate, or retweeted about a candidate.
Crimson Hexagon, CNN
CNN is using Crimson Hexagon, the real-time analytics tool, to track all social media reaction to candidates in real-time. We've already gave you a sneak peek at two highly volatile races, but to CNN's Election Pulse to see the data in real-time. Crimson will feature a state-by-state breakdown of online chatter about candidates, based on keywords, hashtags, and "statistical patterns of words to help identify key themes and threads of conversation."
Google, YouTube, CBS
Google has created a beautiful Elections Ratings system on Google Maps based on some of the top pollers in politics like Real Clear Politics. The data shows a state-by-state color analysis of which states are leaning right, left, or are still a toss up. The graphic can be broken down by source, state, and race (Senate, House, Governor).
YouTube and CBS have also partnered for live webcasts of news coverage, and are asking users to submit and vote on questions (by comment or video) that may be used during the election coverage on CBS.
Facebook has partnered with ABC for live streams of news coverage, live updated comments and polls and questions from Facebook users, and best of all, a town hall at 7pm featuring Facebook's Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark Zuckerberg.
Where will you be watching the election tonight?