Crowdsourcing Democracy Through Social Media

Person tracking social media during elections

Image credit: Social Media Tracking Centre

By Michael Terrazas

ATLANTA – Oct. 11, 2011 – Today the citizens of Liberia will participate in just their second presidential election since the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 2003, and in such an environment the specter of violence or other unrest is never far away. But what if social media, a Georgia Tech professor is asking, could identify and even help prevent dangerous situations from occurring?

When nearly 40 million Nigerians took to the polls last April to elect a new president, many of them went online to share comments about their chosen candidates on blogs, Twitter or other social media platforms. They also used these new media tools to report what they saw. “Listening” to much of it was Georgia Tech Associate Professor Michael Best, which just might have saved a few lives.


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