Seven days that shook the blogosphere–Mobilizing protest in weblogcommunicationsBenedikt Köhlerhttp://blog.metaroll.de5. Oktober 2007
IntroductionQuestion: How did the mobilization of protest in the„Free Burma!“-blog action(http://free-burma.org) proceed?Data: Links in blog comments related to the topic„Burma“ between September 25 and October 22007Method: Snowball sampling until sample wassaturated (no more new links). German Blog „BasicThinking“ as seed. Social network analysis (SNA)and visualization with Pajek and UCINETNumbers: 462 Blogs (networked nodes), 638directed links between blogs (arcs)
Before the storm (September 25, 2007)The size of nodes is equivalent to their inﬂuence overthe whole period. Gray circle in the middle: BasicThinking (our seed blog).
The ﬁrst links (September 25, 2007)Isolated links among the German language blogs on theright. Purple node on the left: central actor SDRENG(IT). Dark gray: Lupe (CH).
Centers of gravity (September 27, 2007)Centers of mobilization emerge in the Germanlanguage blogosphere. Isolated dyads and triads, e.g.at the top the Le Monde blogs (FR).
The leap (September 28, 2007)Emanating from the central blogs, a number ofsub-centers emerge. They are able to mobilize furtherblogs. A bridge forms between German and Italianblogs (Dario Salvelli).
Consolidation (September 29, 2007)Further links increase the network’s integration. Somenew nodes at the periphery are now connected to thenetwork.
. . . (September 30, 2007)Again: new interconnections and integration of furthernodes.
Complete picture (Oktober 2, 2007)German and Italian blogosphere connected onlythrough few nodes. Obvious clustering. Density ofinterconnections varies between Italy and DE/AT/CH.
And then . . .On October 4, thousands of weblogs worldwide show anentry like this.
Important nodes (prestige)Indegrees (incoming links):Basic Thinking (DE): 104Lupe (CH): 45Comicomix (IT): 45Danzando a piedi nudi (IT): 33Gianl (IT): 26Outdegrees (outgoing links):Forensikblog (DE): 18Simon Columbus (DE): 10Basic Thinking (DE): 8Goggiblog (CH): 8Lupe (CH): 7→ Different communication patterns in Italian andGerman blogosphere. Critics of the initiativeoverrepresented in outdegrees.
Important nodes (closeness / betweenness)Nodes with greatest closeness (can most easilyreach all other nodes):Basic Thinking (DE): 19.65Dario Salvelli (IT): 19.17Blogwiese (DE): 16.88Startupblogger (DE): 16.86Blogging Tom (CH): 16.81Nodes with greatest betweenness (can act asbridge or broker):Basic Thinking (DE): 7.78Lupe (CH): 6.02Dario Salvelli (IT): 4.60Goggiblog (CH): 4.30Simon Columbus (DE): 2.76
Distribution of comment activityIndegree: Entry in X’s weblogOutdegree: X comments an entry in another blogRank correlation: ρ = 0.42
Comment activity over timeThe „leap“ is clearly visible: on September 28, 190new links suddenly emerge between weblogs(roughly 30% of all links)Marked decline afterwards
Conclusions (tentative)Secret of rapid mobilization could be the sparseinterlinkage of the network (average 1.5 links/node)At the same time network is manifestly centralized→ rapid dissemination of information in star shapeGerman language blogosphere integrates threecountries, but only weak ties to French and Italianweblogs. Different patterns of weblogcommunication (highly integrated Splindercommunity in Italy)Will those new links endure? Could they bereactivated when required?
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