The Washington Post today launches a unique news app that monitors Twitter and the web to tell you what people are saying about the 2012 presidential candidates and why. The app, called @MentionMachine, gives an instant read of which candidate is up and which is down.  

“The conversations taking place on Twitter and online are quickly becoming the newest measurable benchmark in a campaign, but users may have found it difficult to track that information in one comprehensive place. Because @MentionMachine is an original tool that simultaneously tracks a candidate’s relevance across the web while giving you the explanation behind the trends, it has the potential to be an early indicator well ahead of polls or other traditional campaign measures,” said Cory Haik, Executive Producer for News Innovation and Strategic Projects at The Washington Post. 

@MentionMachine will be featured across The Post’s website, as a toolbar along stories and blog posts related to Election 2012. The toolbar will display the total number of Twitter mentions for a contender and how he or she compares to others. To understand a candidate’s relevance even more, special candidate pages will feature @MentionMachine fever charts that show trends and Twitter spikes over the past day, week or month and which top Tweets and headlines relate to the mentions. In addition, Post reporters will analyze and write about findings from @MentionMachine throughout the campaign. 

@MentionMachine was developed exclusively by The Washington Post. It leverages the Twitter streaming API to count and capture Tweets. The Post measures media mentions by counting candidate references across the 10,000+ sources featured in Trove, the personalized news aggregator from The Washington Post Company. @MentionMachine will continue to iterate as 2012 unfolds.  

For more information, including a video on how to use the feature, follow @MentionMachine on Twitter or go here.  

Norfolk Southern Corporation is the launch sponsor of @MentionMachine.