- Obama’s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.
- The Obama database incorporates Vote Builder, a store of essential information such as age, postal address, occupation and voting history drawn from the voter files of 190 million active voters.
- A list of email addresses of supporters that it has amassed and that now stands at about 23 million, as well as the contact information of Obama’s 25 million Facebook fans.
- If 2008 was all about social media, 2012 is destined to become the “data election”.
Obama, Facebook and the power of friendship: the 2012 data election
( The Guardian )Barack Obama’s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.
Digital analysts predict this will be the first election cycle in which Facebook could become a dominant political force. The social media giant has grown exponentially since the last presidential election, rendering it for the first time a major campaigning tool that has the potential to transform friendship into a political weapon.
Facebook is also being seen as a source of invaluable data on voters. The re-election team, Obama for America, will be inviting its supporters to log on to the campaign website via Facebook, thus allowing the campaign to access their personal data and add it to the central data store – the largest, most detailed and potentially most powerful in the history of political campaigns. If 2008 was all about social media, 2012 is destined to become the “data election”.
“Facebook is now ubiquitous,” says Dan Siroker, a former Google digital analyst who joined Obama’s campaign in 2008 and now runs his own San Francisco-based analytics consultancy, Optimizely. “Whichever candidate uses Facebook the most effectively could win the war.”
For the past nine months a crack team of some of America’s top data wonks has occupied an entire floor of the Prudential building in Chicago devising a digital campaign from the bottom up. The team draws much of its style and inspiration from the corporate sector, with its driving ambition to create a vote-garnering machine that is smooth, unobtrusive and ruthlessly efficient.
Already more than 100 geeks, some recruited at top-flight university job fairs including Stanford, are assembled in the Prudential drawn from an array of disciplines: statisticians, predictive modellers, data mining experts, mathematicians, software engineers, bloggers, internet advertising experts and online organisers.