Ben Jacobs, The Guardian, April 14, 2015


arlier this year, NGP VAN (Voter Activation Network) the main provider of software and data for Democratic political campaigns, opened up their voter database by adding social media platforms. Now they plan on using this social data to pin-point and persuade their potential voters. The higher the Klout score (, or social media influence you have on a scale of 1-100, the more data will be sought out from you. NGP VAN is able to use voter email addresses and connect them with social media accounts, either Facebook or Twitter, with about a 50% success rate. A 50-50 chance may not seem like good odds, but the information is still becoming more available and will have a significant impact on the upcoming political campaigns.

Both Republican and Democratic candidates are already taking steps forward in their use of technology and online outreach by hiring sought-out digital strategists and former Google executives. To many, this step seems like an invasion of online privacy. But to NGP VAN officials: “This is what people are saying publicly. We aren’t pulling in any data that is kind of personal or private that the user hasn’t already decided they want to disclose.” The end goal is creating e-fluentials, or people who are likely to campaign and advertise for the candidate themselves, without the campaign having to do much work. This new trend will be a major factor in the upcoming elections of 2016.

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