The Sunlight Foundation just launched a really fun, vast new site called "Politiwoops" that collects all the tweets that politicians have deleted from their Twitter feeds in the past six months. As Sunlight, which is dedicated to government transparency, explains in a blog post unveiling the site, the collection of thousands of tweets includes hacked missives, typos, and awkward lines that didn't land well. There's Rep. Jeff Miller asking, "Was President Obama born in the United States?" There's President Obama promoting articles in The Atlantic. (And then backtracking!) The site is very elegantly built, seeming to operate a lot like Twitter itself.
As often as not, it's a little tough to tell just why a tweet was deleted if you're not familiar with a politician or just why someone in their office thought that a tweet might offend. Sunlight says it plans on adding to the collection, but the site just went live and the existing database is already perfectly poised for some crowd-sourcing to find the best of the bunch. You might think the project would add to the embarrassment that public figures feel, but glancing through, we think it sort of humanizes our leaders. Who among us hasn't felt the sinking feeling when you hit send and realize that perhaps you shouldn't have?