The text below is an excerpt from the original article by Howard Baldwin, published April 13, 2015 on

Someday someone’s going to write a really terrific history of how technology affects politics, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grasp of radio, wandering through Jack Kennedy’s mastery of television, and concluding with Barack Obama’s use of social media in 2008 and big data in 2012.

The next election in the U.S. is more than a year away (which hasn’t stopped politicians from declaring their intentions), but folks in other countries are already thinking about how big data can influence their own federal elections in 2015. It looks like big data’s next act – after helping Obama in 2012 – is to amplify the vox populi (or as my language teacher Miss McNamara translated on the day we literally covered an entire blackboard with Latin phrases, the voice of the people).

This could be a truly noble effort. It seems that the less people trust government, the less they vote. As tech entrepreneur Giovanna Mingarelli noted in Huffington Post Canada last week, in anticipation of her country’s federal election this year, in the 2011 Canadian Federal Election, only 38.8% of Canadians aged 18 to 24 voted.This same group, she adds, is “hyperconnected” and sharing data across social networks almost constantly.

“An examination of this dynamic data will help us see in real-time what young people are doing, where they’re going and who they like (or not), for instance. In fact, this data could even be analyzed to explore the activities that are shaping their perceptions and expectations of governments and political parties.”

“What’s more,” Mingarelli adds, “if we could better understand the reality of what’s happening with youth at the grassroots level, by the data they’re creating on a daily basis, it could make it a lot easier for governments, political parties and key stakeholders to create authentic, evidence-based campaigns — rooted in the actual needs of young people in Canada — that have real, actionable value.” I like the way this woman thinks.

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