RB Search Gizmos

Search US Senator Twitter Space by Party, Gender, Generation… and Zodiac Sign?

Last week I wrote an article about making my GitHub collection of search gizmos easier to use and got some nice feedback. That’s good, because I find building these things scratches an itch in my brain; it’s like search engines, computing, and Lego all at the same time. It’s also so absorbing that it gives me some temporary relief from my anxiety, for which I’m very grateful.

Of course, me being me, my programs sometimes get a little odd. Say hello to Senator Social Slices (Twitter Edition), which you can try for yourself at  https://researchbuzz.github.io/Senator-Social-Slices-Twitter/

Senator Social Slices lets you search the Twitter accounts of current US Senators after filtering them by a number of parameters: birth decade/generation, Zodiac sign, gender, political party, percentage of votes missed, and percentage of times that they voted against their home party. You’ll need a ProPublica API key, but they’re free. You can get one from https://www.propublica.org/datastore/api/propublica-congress-api .

Once you choose your filters, enter your API key, and hit the button, you’ll get a list of your filtered choices and links to Twitter searches.

Click the link and you’ll go straight to a Twitter search result:

This was fun but I did it mostly as a proof-of-concept – could I extract Senator characteristics from the ProPublica API and apply them to a filtered Twitter search? Resounding yes. The problem is that tweets are short. There’s not a lot of text to search so you can’t get too sophisticated with your queries when you’re exploring this space.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could apply this same kind of filtering to a larger pool of posted politician text?

Someplace like, say, Facebook?

Stay tuned.

And thanks for reading.

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