Friday, December 21, 2012

Popular technologies: The Facebook vs. e-voting race

If there is one uncontroverted truth in this post-modern age of ours, where everything is deemed as relative, is our dependence on technology. We cannot escape it. Staying fit, heating our meals, going to work, communicating with friends, technology has invaded every single aspect of our daily life.

Now, the ubiquity of technology has brought positive and negative effects. One of the many positive impacts of technology in our society is the administration of legitimate elections through technological solutions. Technology offers the means to achieve credible, transparent, and efficient elections. Countries such as the Philippines, Venezuela have had their most legitimate electoral results in their history thanks to election automation. In the light of such remarkable success, the number of countries using it is constantly rising.

As of today, approximately 1.1 billion voters cast their vote electronically. The following chart illustrates the countries in which the vote is tallied electronically.


For clarity's sake, let´s use a reference. Facebook, the social network that took the world by storm in 2004, is still lagging behind e-voting in terms of individuals using it. On October 4, 2012, Facebook announced it had reached the astounding figure of 1 billion users. That is the equivalent of saying that one in seven people on this planet is considered, by Facebook's standards, an active user.

According to the website “Since Facebook launched, the social network’s seen 1.13 trillion “likes” and 140.4 billion friend connections. 219 billion photos are currently being shared, while 17 billion check-ins have been made. Since the music listening app launched in September 2011, 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times — that’s around 210,000 years of music.”

Although these figures are impressive, e-voting is still affecting a greater number of people. There are many countries in which Facebook's penetration is low and that represents a potential for growth. Also, by acquisitions and partnerships, the social network could enter the Chinese and Russian markets. However, several countries such as Russia, Honduras, Ecuador, Switzerland, Denmark, among others, are analyzing the best electoral technology in the marketplace to adopt. This race is getting interesting.