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Politwoops archives every deleted tweet from American politicians

Politwoops screencap

If you’re a public figure, Twitter and Facebook are clearly the two top choices for reaching out to your fans and supporters. But to most politicians (or anyone above the age of 35), the concept of Twitter is still new to them. And unless the interns are running the account, many are still figuring out exactly how to get this thing working. That could mean a lot of deleted tweets, typos, accidental tweets instead of direct messages, et cetera. Politwoops, a project by pro-transparency group The Sunlight Foundation, aims to document all these deleted tweets made by politicians to showcase their entry to the digital age.

“The Politwoops archive serves as an illuminating rough draft of how politicians and campaigns hone their social media messaging and amend their record,” writes Nicko Margolies, communications coordinator at the Sunlight Foundation. “From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what they hoped you didn’t see.”

While we love the idea of Politwoops, most of the tweets are bland messages that seem to have been mistakenly linked from another Web post politicians made through Facebook or other Web sources. A lot of them also seem to runneth over 140 characters, teaching these tweeters that Facebook and Twitter need separate attentions. The concept stems from an original version of the same site ran in The Netherlands. There are currently 11 other international editions up and running. At the time of this writing, the American edition has more than 300 pages of deleted tweets, and each entry displays how soon after the tweet was published that it got trashed, how long ago it was trashed, and the medium with which the tweet was posted. You can try to sort through all the pages on your own, but here are some of our favorites.

Disclaimer: We did not pick Republicans on purpose; the site seems to have a lot more posts from them than any other political party.

We’d love to hear how so, but with the tweet deleted roughly 30 minutes after it went live, I guess Congressman Fincher changed his mind. Though we must admit, Mr. Fincher has an interesting point.

Probably tweeted by an intern or a public relations representative, this post is hilarious given how it makes Newt Gingrich look like he’s pumping himself up for the main event.

Promptly deleted, we can only wonder whose phone number Sen. Collins was trying to tweet, or to whom she meant to send it. Either way, tweeting a phone number on its own without any indication of what it’ll actually take you to is always a bit embarrassing.

Rep. Guinta showed off his secret weight loss formula for three special weeks before he realized this might be a bit too personal — or that his account got hacked.

 Deleted after 15 seconds! Too bad, because this super committee sounds pretty fun. Fun enough for a tweet, Congressman Huelskamp?

Are we still questioning this? Not even an hour later, Rep. Miller realizes he was trolling again.

Gov. Roemer is clearly a superstar at Politwoops given his hasty tweets that always get deleted shortly after posting. We have no idea what he means in wishing we live in a modern world (how else could we see a tweet if we didn’t?) or why he seemed so excited for the CNN debate he was watching that he also misspells “America” — a mistake much too similar to his fellow republican Mitt Romney and the recent With Mitt app.

Overall, the concept would be a lot more fun if someone built the same system to track celebrities — not just politicians — to see the kinds of tweet they mistakenly post or delete after a change of heart. If captured at the right moment, it could be very telling of how someone responds to public outcries if they tweet something scandalous.