New Political Blogging Tool: MP Blog Tracker

I’ve been working on a new tool that ranks Canadian MPs by the buzz that they’ve generated in the blogosphere.

Technorati is a website that tracks over 16.2 million blogs (at the time of this writing). The difference between a search engine such as Technorati and Google is that Technorati indexes posts as they happen. Therefore, the website provides a live look at the current buzz surrounding any query.

I’ve written a program that queries Technorati’s search engine with the names of each of the 302 currently sitting MPs. The program receives the number of posts that discusses each MP and then sorts them in descending order.

I’m still tweaking the program, but so far, the results are quite intriguing.

The top 40 MPs by blogosphere buzz (# posts as of 5am this morning):
1. Paul Martin 19103
*. John Williams 9153
2. Stephen Harper 8354
*. Michael Savage 3912
3. Jack Layton 2957
4. Belinda Stronach 2737
*. David Smith 1982
5. Bill Graham 1401
6. Carolyn Parrish 1280
*. Richard Harris 1251
7. Peter MacKay 1251
8. Ujjal Dosanjh 1100
9. David Anderson 1081
10. Irwin Cotler 1025
11. Gilles Duceppe 984
12. Gurmant Grewal 919
13. Anne McLellan 902
*. Derek Lee 882
14. Pierre Pettigrew 812
15. Ralph Goodale 791
16. Stockwell Day 745
17. Judy Sgro 727
*. James Moore 725
18. Joe Volpe 670
19. Scott Brison 652
20. David Kilgour 645
21. Monte Solberg 595
*. Tony Martin 581
22. Andy Scott 484
23. John Reynolds 480
24. Larry Miller 467
25. Keith Martin 466
26. John McKay 465
27. Ken Dryden 448
28. Scott Reid 448
29. Jean Lapierre 434
30. Jason Kenney 430
31. Ed Broadbent 325
32. John Duncan 306
33. Tony Valeri 285
34. Randy White 268
35. David Emerson 264
36. Liza Frulla 255
37. Jim Peterson 249
38. Pat Martin 235
39. Joe Comuzzi 231
40. John Godfrey 229

* I’ve dropped a few names out of the list for various reasons (John Williams is a world-famous movie score composer, Michael Savage is a polarizing radio host in the US, David Smith is a very common name, Richard Harris was Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies etc.). I’m not sure how to refine the results for these MPs without biasing the entire methodology (ie. adding “MP” reduces the number of results for both David Smith and Belinda Stronach).

I’m going to add to the program so that results are gathered on a weekly basis and results will be compared on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis to determine the MPs that are rising in the blogosphere.

Another interesting note is that the popularity of an MP’s name in the blogosphere is not entirely desirable. Scandal is more often buzz-worthy than praise as Carolyn Parrish, Ujjal Dosanjh and Gurmant Grewal are all familiar with this.

I’m also going to be playing with a few extensions to this idea, such as tracking election issues and future leadership contenders (such as Michael Ignatieff).