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Many governments are recognizing the power of data, and of social media in particular. With social media, they can better understand what their constituents want, know, and wish to communicate. Government officials can better serve them just as companies can too. Communicating between masses of people and large institutions has never been easy, but it is becoming possible in ways that were not previously available.

Related to the above question, you published a very recent study on Censorship in Chinese Government, where you find evidence that the government tries to prevent collective activities spreading through social media. How do you see censorship as a method in social media management?

Most governments and most social media data providers censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) some types of information. The types they censor differ a great deal of course, with important implications for the degree to which their citizens can communicate with each other and their governments. Netizens work hard at evading censors in most places, but the censorship itself certainly has an effect.

You have given a talk titled as 'Big Data is not about the data!". From governments perspective, all digital government applications including social media there is abundance of data from multiple sources. What do you foresee as key steps in putting all the information buried in these data sources into action for better governance?

The interesting point is that no special efforts need be developed in many situations to create data. As the systems created to improve finances, human relations, bus transport, internet connectivity, etc., etc. get upgraded, or transitioned from analogue to digital, data is automatically created. To make the data actionable, and to turn it into useful information for policy makers and better governance, requires some good analytics work. With the two, tremendous progress can be made.

Finally, this last presidential campaign for Obama seemed very unique in terms of utilizing 'data science' for reaching to new voters, raising money, organizing community events, etc. How do social media and big data analytics fit into campaigns for elections?

Every democratic campaign involves politicians and their supporters taking every legal action they can think of to creatively advance their cause. In every election, the roadblocks, opportunities, technological options, and analytic ideas change. And so we can expect politicians to use whatever they have at their disposal, including social media, better analytics, and -- for the next election -- something you and I do not yet foresee.


R. Erdem ERKUL ; Thank you so much Prof. King


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