Monday, January 30, 2012

Facebook, 2012, and Times Square

Want to share your views on the pressing issues of the day? Want to see your face and views up in the lights of Times Square?

According to an article in today's New York Times, Facebook users will have the opportunity to vote on key political issues using the new app 2012Matters. The non-partisan polling app will touch on nine issues during the course of the election cycle including: the economy, health care, immigration, social issues, energy, Social Security, debt, national security and the environment. 

After users rank what they see as the personal importance of these nine issues, they'll have the option of sharing their poll rankings (and their Facebook photo) on the Nasdaq billboard in Times Square. The billboards will highlight how the importance of these key issues varies by state.

The 2012 Matters app represents an interesting bridging of political sentiment with new technology and allows users to express their political viewpoints in one of the most public of spaces -- Times Square. Moreover, the app is designed to encourage political engagement among those who might not normally follow political campaigns or issue debates that closely.

The analytic capabilities for academic researchers are promising as are the benefits with respect to civic and political engagement. The new effort reminds me of some clever work analyzing the sentiments present in New Years Eve wishes by colleagues in computer science from UW-Madison.

For more check out the app, here.

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