One of the application areas where Big Data and analytics promise to make a big difference is
One of the application areas where Big Data and analytics promise to make a big difference is arguably the field of politics. Experiences from the recent presidential elections illustrated the power of Big Data and analytics to acquire and energize millions of volunteers (in the form of a modern-era grassroots movement) to not only raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the election campaign but to optimally organize and mobilize potential voters to get out and vote in large numbers, as well. Clearly, he 2008 and 2012 presidential elections made a mark on the political arena with the creative use of Big Data and analytics to improve chances of winning. Figure 13.7 illustrates a graphical depiction of the analytical process of converting a wide variety of data into the ingredients for winning an election. As Figure 13.7 illustrates, data is the source of information; the richer and deeper it is, the better and more relevant the insights. The main characteristics of Big Data, namely volume, variety, and velocity (the three Vs), readily apply to the kind of data that is used for political campaigns. In addition to the structured data (e.g., detailed records of previous campaigns, census data, market research, and poll data) vast volumes and a variety of social media (e.g., tweets at Twitter, Facebook wall posts, blog posts) and Web data (Web pages, news articles, newsgroups) are used to learn more about voters and obtain deeper insights to enforce or change their opinions. Often, the search and browsing histories of individuals are captured and made available to customers (political analysts) who can use such data for better insight and behavioral targeting. If done correctly, Big Data and analytics can provide invaluable information to manage political campaigns better than ever before.
Questions for Discussion
1. What is the role of analytics and Big Data in modern-day politics?
2. Do you think Big Data Analytics could change the outcome of an election?
3. What do you think are the challenges, the potential solution, and the probable results of the use of Big Data Analytics in politics?
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