The initial model for looking at Twitter was horizontal -- see everything that all the people you follow are thinking about. Now the model has been turned on its head 90 degrees -- see everything that anyone says, whether you follow them or not, that has to do with a particular topic: in this case, the U.S. presidential election.
Twitter users have been able to do this themselves for some time using hashtags, or tagging a conversation using the # sign. However, that required everyone to agree upon and use the same hashtags. Now there's better ways that require less work on the part of participants.
Election 2008 is an amalgam of all the Twitter feeds having to do with the election, automatically -- no hashtags required. "We’re filtering hundreds of Twitter updates per minute to create a new source for gathering public opinion about the presidential election and a new way for you to share your thoughts," explains the site. It also keeps a running list of "hot election topics" -- at this moment, for example, Katie Couric, Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, MOMocrats, Alaska, SNL, Supreme Court, CBS, CNN, and GOP.
Unlike a standard Twitter feed, it constantly updates -- in fact, the scroll can be dizzying to watch during an event such as the Presidential debate. You can also choose to watch all candidates, or just one of the four presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Adding another layer of abstraction, Twittervision Election View, created just four days ago, uses Google Maps to map the locations of various tweets (Twitter postings) about the election. It is based on Twittervision, a Facebook/Twitter application that maps your postings and those of your friends.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem possible to zero on a specific region and see just the postings from there, but it can be fascinating to watch the map swing around from one area to another -- outside the U.S. as well as within it -- as a new post comes in. It doesn't yet include the 3d globe view provided by classic Twittervision, but presumably that will come in the future.