Data-driven Decisions a Best Practice, but Still Not Mainstream

Susan Hall
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Eight Steps to Utilizing Social Networks in Your Job Search

Eight steps to focus your online job search.

With the brutal GOP primaries behind them, Mitt Romney's staff is gearing up for a big digital fight that will be integral to the 2012 presidential election. The Romney campaign has begun hiring "a lot" of digital staff, according to ClickZ, though only 11 positions are listed at the moment on the Romney site. They include interactive designer, Web project manager, Salesforce data analyst and Salesforce engineer.

 

President Obama's 2008 victory was widely attributed to his staff's digital savvy, and his staff was rounding up analytics engineers and scientists to hire last September.

 

In a long piece on the digital battle to come, The Philadelphia Inquirer quotes Andrew Rasiej, social-media campaign strategist, founder of Personal Democracy Media and co-founder of TechPresident, saying that 2008 was "the beginning of social media on the political scene. But as of 2012, the digital campaign is on steroids."

 


The story also quotes Maria Cardona, principal at Dewey Square Group, saying:

What's different about 2012 is the absolute instantaneous nature in which information travels, and in which a story can become a story for either side. Thank Twitter.

The Inquirer gives a good overview of the upcoming digital fight and the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, such as these: Obama's Twitter address (run by his campaign team) has more than 14 million followers; Romney's has about 424,000. Yet Romney followers tend to "retweet" messages from the campaign at a much higher rate than Obama followers do.

 

And in a creepy encapsulation of the work to be done, the article explains:

Voters in Pennsylvania and other swing states will be especially courted via today's digital: a gigantic mashup of info, a data-mining frenzy that can profile each person, door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, day to day.
"The big story of 2012 is going to be Big Data," says Rasiej. Data, for example, on what party you've registered with, worked for, or donated to. Your tweets and Facebook posts (and those of millions of others) are combed for key words to signal your interest and concerns, which in turn get used in political pitches. (Don't get upset. It's done.)
"That gets mashed with other publicly available databases about where you live, your income, your job, other changes in your life," says Rasiej. And then it's mashed again-"just like any Fortune 500 company does"-with your Web behavior, every click of which is for sale.


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