Is the presidential campaign providing a look at the first truly massive use of big data?
Let me preface my question by saying it has nothing to do with any candidate's merits or lack thereof. What I find interesting is the use of massive amounts of data to target supporters, both current and potential. There was a story in Slate today that referenced Project Norwal, which takes information from numerous separate repositories and creates a complete picture of voters, which is then made available to all arms of President Obama's reelection campaign. As Slate put it, it merges "the multiple identies of the engaged citizen - the online activist, the offline voter, the donor, the volunteer - into a single, unified political profile." Ok, I'll admit that doesn't sound THAT impressive...until you consider the Obama campaign has records on 170 MILLION potential voters, with an unidentified number of them actually being the same people. I will be watching to see how this plays out from a big data perspective. Am I off base, or is this really the first massive use of big data that we've seen publicly?
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