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Expressing Social Relationships on the Blog through Links and Comments (presented at SHARP)
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Expressing Social Relationships on the Blog through Links and Comments (presented at SHARP)


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    • 1. Expressing Social Relationships on the Blog through Links and Comments June 25, 2007 – San Jose, CA 2007 Summer Hard Problem Program (SHARP) Noor Ali-Hasan Microsoft Research conducted with Prof. Lada Adamic, University of Michigan School of Information
    • 2. Introduction
      • Keeping a blog continues to be a popular online activity
      • Blogging is an extremely social activity
        • Bloggers receive and leave comments about posts
        • Bloggers list other blogs on their blogrolls
        • Bloggers link to other blogs in their posts ( citations )
    • 3. Blogs blogroll number of comments blog posts citations
    • 4. Blogrolls
    • 5. Blog Comments
    • 6. Research Questions
      • Do blog networks emerge due to blogging or do they represent real life social networks?
      • Do blogs help facilitate the formation of new friendships or do they help preserve existing relationships in the real world?
      • Do blog comments and blogroll links represent different levels of relationship intimacy?
    • 7. Related Work
      • McKenna et al. (2002) observed that close online relationships naturally progress to face-to-face interactions
      • Nardi et al. (2004) found that many start blogging at the urging of friends and continue to blog to avoid disappointing their readers
    • 8. Related Work
      • Adamic and Glance (2005) analyzed network structure of political blogs during the 2004 U.S. Presidential election
      • Herring et al. (2005) studied the interconnectedness of the blogosphere
    • 9. Community Structure
    • 10. Three Blog Communities image source: San Jose Kuwait Blogs UAE Blogs DFW Blogs
    • 11. Data Collection Methods
      • Collected blogroll links by hand
      • Used BlogPulse and Technorati for in-post citations
      • Gathered comments manually over a two week period just for Kuwait
      Q8 UAE DFW Number of Blogs 152 65 365
    • 12. Link Type Overlap for Kuwait Blogs comment links blogroll links in-post links 664 131 325 143 25 48 98
    • 13. Within-Community Blogroll and Citation Links DFW UAE Kuwait
    • 14. Reciprocity Kuwait UAE DFW post citations 19% 16% 26% blogroll links 32% 43% 27% comments 43% N/A N/A
    • 15. Community Boundaries DFW UAE Kuwait
    • 16. Porosity of Community Boundaries Kuwait UAE DFW internal post citations received 79% 24% 16% internal blogroll links given 47% 22% 9% non-anonymous comments received from bloggers within community 42% N/A N/A
    • 17. Online and Offline Relationships
    • 18. Survey Methods
      • Conducted online survey
      • Most notified via email
      • Kuwait Blogs and UAE Blogs blogged about survey on central sites
      Q8 UAE DFW Number of Respondents 85 38 67 Response Rate 63% 68% 23%
    • 19. Motivation Behind Blogging
    • 20. Motivation Behind Blogging
      • I wish everybody would blog. It's such an easy way of knowing what's up in someone's life and what thoughts are on their mind, important or not. People often think, 'Oh, nobody'd want to read about /my/ boring life,' but really, sometimes just seeing the world from someone else's point of view can be fascinating.
      • DFW Blogs Survey Respondent
    • 21. Intersection of Blogging and Offline Relationships Q8 UAE DFW Few or none of the comments received are left by people known offline 79% 81% 66% Few or none of the comments left on other blogs are on blogs of people known offline 74% 94% 65%
    • 22. Using Blogs to Sustain Real-Life Relationships with Non-Bloggers Q8 UAE DFW Few or none of the comments received are left by people who do not blog but whom they know offline 99% 94% 79%
    • 23. Using Blogs to Maintain and Form Relationships Median number of bloggers listed on blogroll and: Q8 UAE DFW Met in person 5 5 2 Emailed 5 10 12 IM’ed 6 2.5 2 First met in person but now communicate with F2F, phone, email, or IM 5 4 3
    • 24. Using Blogs to Maintain and Form Relationships
      • Most of the Kuwaiti bloggers know one another, either directly (friends/relatives) or indirectly (friends of friends, friend's relatives, etc.). If they don't know one another, then they don't remain strangers for long. […] I know of several people who used their blogs to make new friends in Kuwait.
      • Kuwait Blogs Survey Respondent
    • 25. Using Blogs to Maintain and Form Relationships
      • The DFW Blogs community was an incredible social network for me. I had recently moved back to the Dallas area when the group began. Through that group I was able to meet highly intelligent, talented, motivated, and creative people. We all had a common interest - blogs - but we were all so diverse. The group was amazing and I'm so thankful I was apart of it for so many years.
      • DFW Blogs Survey Respondent
    • 26. Blogs in a National Crisis
    • 27. Kuwait in January 2006 Image sources: and
    • 28. Visualization of Blog Post Topics
    • 29. Blogs and Decentralized Information Sharing
      • I'm a student in the United States and many of the blogs in Kuwait Blogs community keep me updated with what's going on in Kuwait and they are more informative and up to date than newspapers.
      • Kuwait Blogs Survey Respondent
    • 30. Conclusions
      • Blogs enable relationship formation
      • Blog relationships extend to other communication methods and F2F
      • At this time, blogs are not used to sustain real life relationships
      • All three communities show high degrees of reciprocity and cohesion
      • Blogs used to make sense of a national crisis
    • 31. Questions?
      • For more information:
      • Noor Ali-Hasan
      • Microsoft
      • 1065 La Avenida Street
      • Mountain View, CA 94043
      • (650) 693-1925
      • [email_address]