Using Foursquare and Crowdmap to track local elections

With the midterm elections coming tomorrow, lots of news outlets will likely be launching their fanciest new toys and social media ideas to best pull in that coveted election night audience on the web. TBD’s no exception, though our election day experiments are based in off-site crowdsourcing to better inform our on-site coverage.

As we did with the Washington D.C. primary elections, we’re launching a Crowdmap to track voting problems across the District, Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. We’re asking readers to report long lines, broken machines, ballot refusals, electioneering and such at the polls using email, Twitter hashtags or on-site reports. It worked pretty well in September, though this time I’m a bit worried about Crowdmap’s servers holding up. Right now as I post this, they’re struggling to load any of our maps.

I’m particularly excited to try out Foursquare in Tuesday’s election coverage. In our attempt to take a local approach to the National Post’s Foursquare “exit poll” experiment, I set up three new venues to collect voter check-ins.: Virginia Congressional Elections 2010, Maryland Governor Election 2010 and D.C. Election 2010. Once readers check in to the correct venue, we’re asking them to submit a tip to that venue telling us who they voted for and why.

While these check-ins and tips won’t be any kind of real measurement, it will give an interesting look at how many people on Foursquare are voting in local races and how those votes are leaning – if people use it. If enough people check in, they could earn a Swarm badge, at least.

Here’s hoping something takes off.

This entry was posted in Location Apps, My Work, TBD and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.