Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mike Best Delivers African Elections Project Inaugural Lectures On Social Media Tracking Of African Elections.

Dr. Michael Best, a renowned New media and ICT specialist and Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of technology will on June 30, 2014, deliver a lecture  inaugural African Elections Project Lecture series on the topic :  "Free, Fair and Facebook: Social Media Tracking of African Elections” at 5:30pm. Hosted by Penplusbytes’ New Media Hub, a ultra-modern innovations hub that supports non-profits and CSOs to achieve greater efficiency and creative impact in their work via new digital technologies located in Osu, Accra- Ghana.

The lecture forms part of the African Elections Project ( which has so far covered elections in 13 African countries was established in 2008 with the vision of enhancing the ability of journalists, citizen and the news media to provide more timely and relevant elections-related information and knowledge while undertaking monitoring of specific and important aspects of governance

Dr. Best lecture will seek to explore how modern technology and ICT can open up and ensure greater civic participation to improve free and fair elections in fledgling democracies such as Ghana and for that matter Africa and to enhance democracy in Africa. The use of social media and crowdsourcing platforms are exploding across the African continent, especially via mobile networks and featured handsets and over the last five years, Dr. Best and his team have been involved in the development of new software systems and organizational processes that aid the monitoring on social media platforms (from Facebook to Twitter, Google+, Ushahidi, Mixit, and more) to help ensure free and fair elections in Africa. Their Aggie social media aggregator and monitoring software has been deployed in elections in Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, and Kenya.

These real-world election experiences have demonstrated a number of strengths to their approach including: meeting the electorate where they are, technological neutrality, the need for working software that can handle high volumes of social media inputs and the value of embedding team members with core stakeholders, such as election commissions and security organizations.In the recent Ekiti state election in Nigeria for instance, the group integrated the Aggie platform with mobile phone based field observation technology, called ELMO. This allowed, for the first time, a unified monitoring mechanism between social media and formal observers, enabled through a single platform. In this pilot project, it was demonstrated that formal observers and social media complement each other in interesting and powerful ways.

Editor’s Note:

Established in 2001, Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining

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