Big data and politics.

Big data can be explained by the three concepts of volume, velocity and variety. Volume talks about the actual amount of data and how it matters. This requires processing of high volumes of unstructured and low density data. This can include data that has no value or of no use to the user. Velocity refers to the rate at which the receiving of data occurs and is then acted upon. Variety includes the different types of data that are available. Traditionally, data types were mostly structured but with the rise of big data, semistructured and unstructured data need additional processing.

Let’s talk about how technology and big data have changed the political environment. Big data has allowed and make it far more easier for the campaigns to successfully target their base, solely focusing on them rather than trying to convince a broad range of voters. This includes the combination of huge amount voter information with the help of the new technologies; revolutionising the campaigning process. The political parties are now working like corporations: collecting and gaining as much data they can about their constituents for instance, the movies they watch, the shops they visit, the shows they like, what they read, what they like doing, what the don’t like doing and so on. This also includes a person’s party affiliation, history of participation, their age and gender. This helps them design and shape their political campaigns to suite the demands and preferences of the voters. This helps them identify the people who’ll most likely vote for them and try to satisfy them by tailoring the manifestos to their needs and preferences. Therefore, they’ll talk to the ones they know can one way or the other support them or can be convinced to support them rather than the ones who can not be convinced.

A more recent and suitable example is the United States of America’s recent elections. An amount of data was collected that was used to manipulate and mobilize the voters that allowed the prediction of the way people would vote and behave. This was aided by the availability of big data that allows access to the data of the whole population rather than the data of a portion of the population that is called as the sample data. This data can come from the voting registration databases, public state records, social media websites like facebook as well as other publicly available sets of data like the census bureau. So, once the data has been collected and analysed, phone bankers, canvassers, direct mail and other forms of communication are used to convince the voters.


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One comment on “Big data and politics.”

  1. Hey Zareen!

    Very interesting post. Contents are based on facts and I totally endorse them. Just one point: what about analysing Big Data and politics from voters’ perspective instead of politicians’ one?
    Thanks to Big Data, it will be possible to verify deeply what politicians say and promise, comparing this with tons of other data coming even from what politicians stated and did years before. Doing so, it will be possible to verify their coherence, sincerity, and core values. All of this will definitely lead politics to the next level, on a more objective dimension. In any case, I’m not so sure people will vote relying more on data than on their own feelings.

    What do you think about it?


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