Global Editions

July/August 2016

The 2013 elections in Pakistan were marked by a new phenomenon: social media and use of data to plan election campaigns. Politicians built large social media networks, using mediums like Facebook pages, Twitter handles, SMS channels and robo-calls. Likewise, the data generated by opinion polls, conducted both online and through perception surveys, formed the basis of political narrative, especially for new political parties.

Since the 2013 elections, social media and data has taken center stage in the politics of Pakistan, especially for the youth of Pakistan. This issue of MIT Technology Review Pakistan is focused on the use of social media and big data in politics.Read more

Q & A


Social Media and Big Data in Politics

Growing role of social media and technology in Pakistani politics.

All politics is local,” the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill is usually credited with this particular catchphrase. However, this is a universal principle when it comes to electioneering, especially in Pakistan.

You don’t win elections by pushing abstract, philosophical ideals down an average citizen’s throat. You win elections by solving real, local problems. The average voter (read Aslam or Nasreen) will only be motivated enough to vote for you if you can do something for him (or her) personally. It’s as simple as that.

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