Vote early, vote often, but don’t vote via social networks

Votizen lets you endorse the candidates of your choice and connect with others across the Web who share your beliefs. That's not necessarily a winning strategy.

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"Our users are thrilled to be able to directly campaign for the candidates they are passionate about. And as social media matures, particularly with a younger generation, the value of sharing becomes more and more apparent….

But social also has its own special set of rules that eschew harvesting. Not only are there the obvious protections that we employ (such as consumer-protective Terms of Service for reputable firms; and threat detection and security for those who are not) but there is also the importance of the graph itself:  it is insufficient to simply have information about people through their activities and the voter rolls. Political consultants have employed micro-targeting techniques for close to two decades and that isn't stopping. But the channels that those harvesting techniques rely on (television, direct mail and robocalls) are what's becoming ineffective. So it will be the political graph— the collection of relationships that people have and share between, that will be the real place where campaigns are won and lost, and its why we put the voter at the center of our service." 

To me, that sounds like Putorti is saying social networks are the next frontier for political marketing. He’s probably right. I can’t say the idea thrills me, though.

Again, what’s the harm? Maybe nothing. But tell that to the woman who got fired in 2004 for having a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker on her car. The First Amendment doesn’t protect you against private companies suppressing your  speech. Only in this case, your boss doesn’t have to stroll through the parking lot looking for people with contrary opinions; she can stroll through Votizen.

It’s easy enough to spin off different scenarios where people might have an adverse reaction to your political persuasions. Depending on your point of view, you might think twice about hiring someone who’s a fan of the Tea Party or a former Community Organizer who may or may not have been born inside US borders, for example. Data miners might discover a correlation between people who vote for Libertarian candidates and those who get charged with DUIs, and ratchet up their fees accordingly -- even if that Libertarian happens to be a teetotaler.

At this moment there are no privacy throttles on Votizen, though Putorti says they are adding some.

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