Big Data helped Obama Win the Election


São Paulo - The elections changed dramatically after the first year of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency in 2008. The use of social networking has transformed the world in digital key part of the dispute.

Today, no candidate has dared to flout the web, including Brazil. Obama just turn the elections again and this time in an even more radical. The team president was beyond social networks and used the big data technology in winning votes. To do this, set up a huge database, with details of each voter and how people react to different approaches. The information oriented volunteers indicated the best ways to raise funds and identified who could be convinced to support the reelection of the president.

At campaign headquarters in Chicago, a group of scientists specializing in the analysis of large amounts of data has been hired to work exclusively with big data, system used to analyze a huge amount of information, process it and draw conclusions from the numbers . The Obama team retired intuition. Tossed in the trash rules considered infallible by political parties, how to focus all advertising on primetime TV, post tons of material with similar content or shoot one email to all registered voters. In this election, each procedure was designed to target a specific set of people.

The result of each act was measured, compared and analyzed. All information was incorporated into the database, which was becoming more intelligent. "History will show that this campaign was the most sophisticated in the world.

Any candidate, political party or organization that does not adapt to this new way to get support is likely to be overlooked or even extinct, "said Andrew Rasiej INFO, an expert in the use of technology in politics and founder of Personal Democracy Media site ( According to him, while Obama has used the technology to build a campaign structure comparable to a scientific research center, Mitt Romney created the equivalent of a computer store.

To produce a huge archive of information, Jim Messina, Obama's team coordinator for reelection, lost no time. Mounting the database began in 2011 with the hiring of Rayid Ghani as chief scientist. Ghani held the position of senior researcher and director of the group analyzes of Accenture Technology Labs. Among his specialties is identifying consumption patterns. One of his many accomplishments was to create a system capable of predicting the final price of an item on eBay with 96% accuracy.

Details about work led by Ghani were kept secret and only began to be known now, after Obama's victory. One of the applications created by them was called Dreamcatcher ("dreamcatcher", in English). The team has innovated much to mount a real Big Brother election as the way to transform this information into ratings. Many of the solutions created to reach voters were adapted from techniques used by companies to attract consumers, such as targeted marketing and microsegmentation. The goal was to convince the right people to make donations, work seeking support and attend the polls because the voting is not compulsory in the United States.

The level of detail is impressive. Imagine a mother of two who lives in a small town in the state of Ohio, in the Midwest of the United States. She voted in the last election, registered sailed up and sometimes the site of Obama (less than in the 2008 race), but never donated. Their children attend public school. She usually tweet about the environment and still maintains a Facebook page about organic food. All this would be recorded in the database of the Obama team. "The campaign to send her emails from Michelle Obama on environmental policies planned by the president and public education," says consultant Andrew Rasiej. Only women with similar profiles receive such messages.


Read Original Article: INFO Online. (Portuguese)