New Political Actors in the Age of Big Data
Senior Account Executive at Twitter. Senior Account Executive at Google. Information about people who recently bought a brand new Lincoln vehicle or a brand new Mazda vehicle. The primary in which you last voted. Volunteered for a campaign. Visited a campaign website. What do any of these items have to do with one another? They each play a role in how political candidates are marketed and sold to the American public today. Employees at technology companies such as Twitter and Google are in the business of offering advice on online advertisement placement and other aspects of online campaigning to political campaigns and agencies. Today's class of political employees offers advice to political candidates and campaigns. Often that advice is based on voter file and consumer data from potential voters as well as from those users' social media accounts.The use of big data to target potential voters has become commonplace. New political actors are targeting specific households, based on a number of data points that have combined to create voter profiles. With all of these changes in the field of political marketing taking place, it is important to ask: How have the marketing practices of business and politics converged in the context of a political campaign? This thesis examines this question in the context of a discussion about the usage of big data and highlights the new political actors that are assisting in this change to the world of political marketing.
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