Never Let the Truth Stand in the Way of a Good StoryStorytelling is the original form of oral history, and as history has shown us the victor oftentimes gets to tell the story from their point of view. Now that both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have completed their conventions and formally nominated their candidates for President of the United States of America, it is open season on opinion. Each party has their Political Action Committees — PACs (doesn’t that acronym remind you of the ultimate app — Pac-Man — where you ate all the dots and the ghosts before the ghosts ate you?); they have their celebrity backers; they have their talk-radio hosts; innumerable advisors with regular seats (occupied chairs, in fact) on the Sunday morning political talk shows — they all want to push upon us their opinions and interpretations on what one or the other candidate is doing or not doing or what their opponent is doing or not doing — are you dizzy yet? There is a reason it is called spin.

So how do we escape the spin and claw our way into the issues of importance to each of us — the issues which matter most to you, your neighbor, community, state, etc.? Far too often the candidates state their position as clearly and concisely as possible and their opponents take the verbiage and twist and turn it, and their supporters take the verbiage and twist and turn it; you’d think we were at the world championship of Twister with the contortions once the “position” gets in the hands of the enhancement agents.

Well that bothered me, and it bothered my family, and we found ourselves literally shouting at radio talk show pundits during the commute each day as they adjusted the meaning and context of an utterance, clicking away from an article that sought to take the words and divine new meaning, or just throwing the sofa’s pillows at the TV during the Sunday morning talk shows. And that is how the concept of an agnostic view into the candidates and their party positions via their social media streams was born: to cancel out the “third-party” noise and bring the words, meaning, and sentiments of the candidates directly to the forefront

This agnostic view comes to you in two flavors:

Never Let the Truth Stand in the Way of a Good StoryFor the Democrats: Blue2012Red

Never Let the Truth Stand in the Way of a Good StoryFor the Republicans: Red2012Blue

The websites’ content is identical; the layout of the page on each is what is different. The Democrats can see their party’s verbiage on the left when viewing Blue2012Red, and the Republicans can see their party’s prose on the left when they are viewing Red2012Blue.

How was it done? As noted above, the idea was born of a discussion between me and my wife, Kathy. I brought it to the Atigeo scientists and engineers and asked that they create a corpus of the social media stream of the candidates and their respective party. I then asked for the creation of a domain expert on this content; this required the content to be indexed and clustered based on word concepts as identified through semantic processing of the content utilizing our xPatterns big data analytic engine. Once this was completed, I wanted the ability to query against any issue (those identified by the parties or my own). I wanted the query to draw, from the domain expert, the most relevant items and present them in relevance rank order. The team was then tasked with taking this one step further and allowing the user to draw from either side of the equation and bring it to the middle sort box and have revealed the top 10 most relevant items regardless of party on the given issue (but identify which party’s content was which — ergo the donkey and the elephant icons.

This application was up and running in beta within a month. But it wasn’t visual enough. We wanted a neural network viewer to display the underlying concepts within a given query and then show the user the pertinent items. Why? You see, big data consists of velocity (in this case we update hourly); variety (we are drawing from Twitter, Facebook, and the RSS feeds of the candidates and their party); volume (we are consuming all they are creating (see note below regarding stats); visualization (the ability to see the context and relevance of the data) and accessibility (the application is available for all to use). With these applications, you, the individual, can access the data using the same type of tools that enterprises and governments have available. But, more important, we wanted to cut through the noise and give the voter a means to review the issues in an agnostic and straightforward manner so that when it came time to vote, they would be an educated voter.

I hope you enjoy using the application of your choice, be it Red2012Blue or Blue2012Red. It should help you slice through the noise and cure the dizziness. And as Pogo, resident of Okefenokee Swamp and presidential candidate thrice over was known to say, “If you can’t vote my way, vote anyway, but VOTE!” And with that, we won’t let the truth get in the way of a good story, but we’ll give you a way to get to the truth.

Social Media Stats

Both parties and their candidates are getting the word out on the issues, as evidenced by the Red2012Blue and Blue2012Red application. That said, we all want to know who has better control of the social media networks. Well, here’s the play-by-play: The two parties are matching one and other seemingly tweet for tweet; when we look at the candidates themselves, President Obama is out-tweeting Governor Romney by more than 5:1; over at Facebook, the parties and the candidates are running almost dead-even with their content flows; the RSS feeds have a 5:1 advantage of the Democratic Party postings in comparison to the Republican Party.

Here is my video introduction to Red2012Blue/Blue2012Red:

Here is my video demonstration on how to use Red2012Blue/Blue2012Red application and the neural network viewer:

Never Let the Truth Stand in the Way of a Good StoryChristopher Burgess, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Security Officer at Atigeo, a compassionate technology company delivering via its xPatterns a revolutionary big data cloud software platform providing intelligent analytic solutions to a variety of industries. Prior to Atigeo, Burgess was senior security advisor to the CSO at Cisco. He also served 30 years within the Central Intelligence Agency, from which he retired and was awarded the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Burgess co-authored with Richard Power Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost: Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century (ISBN: 978-1-59749-255-3), is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and sits on a number of advisory boards, to include Mayo Clinic’s External Social Media Board; SC Magazine’s editorial advisory board and Rune Information Security’s advisory board.