Mapping the German Political Web

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Mapping the German Political Web

  1. 1. Mapping of the German Political Web Panel: Tracking and Mapping Political Interaction in Online Social Networks IR11-Conference Göteborg/Sweden, October 22nd 2010 Christian Nuernbergk M. A.
  2. 2. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Agenda  Introduction: The Concentration Debate  Project outline: Methodology and Research Interest  Findings: Mapping of/Analyzing the German Political Web  Conclusion
  3. 3. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Introduction: Concentration/Centralization-Debate  Benkler (2006: 242) describes the networked public sphere as an information environment, “where few are read by many, but clusters of moderately read sites provide platforms for vastly greater numbers of speakers than were heard in the mass media-environment”  Benkler’s evaluation of studies on network topology suggests that a simple “rich get richer”-phenomenon is not appropriate to the networked public sphere  Hindman (2009) questions Benkler’s filter hypothesis and shows with an extensive analysis of Hitwise clickstreams that still a “small set of winners” receive “the lion’s share of traffic”  Audiences on the web in the U.S. seem to be far more concentrated than expected  Gonzalez-Bailon’s (2009) findings also show that social factors and media coverage are still underlying the structure of the web
  4. 4. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Mapping of the German Political Web: Project Outline  The mapping was part of an expertise ordered by the German Commission on Concentration in the Media (KEK): “The Impact of the Internet under the Aspects of Ensuring Diversity of Opinion” (Project leader: Prof. Christoph Neuberger)  Project time: October 2009 - March 2010  Methods: Content analysis/exploratory network analysis  Research interest: How centralized is the Link structure of the German political web? Does this structure ensure diversity?  Which websites are benefiting from the emerging network?  What positions occupy blogs compared to traditional media?  What influence does the audience reach have to the linking of a website?
  5. 5. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Methodology/Network Crawl  The original network dataset was provided by Linkfluence Germany, which mapped the German political web already in the last election term (“wahlradar.de”)  The link data was crawled on January 5th, 2010  The crawling technique included several seed websites in issue-related communities, partisan communities and media websites from which links were systematically followed  Automatically generated attributes of network actors were reviewed at Muenster University  The generated network was analyzed and visualized at Muenster University with UCINET and Gephi  The crawled hyperlink network consists of binary data (= information about multiple linking between two websites is missing )
  6. 6. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Network graph of connected websites (5816 websites; 348 isolates not shown) >> Traditional media with central network positions >> Distribution of distinct links does not completely follow a power law, but shows higher concentration of attention on a handful of top sites >> Top quintile of all sites receives two thirds (66%) of all distinct inbound links Right-wing websites (brown) Conservative websites (blue) Media websites (light blue) Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication
  7. 7. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Findings 1: Network Topology and Centralization  Top 100-sites (= 1,6% of all sites) receive 26% of all identified links  The network is not densely interlinked, but 70% of all nodes may hypothetically reach each other per hyperlink navigation with respect to the direction of each link  The first-placed topsite receives 1151, the second placed site receives 910 and the third-placed site 788 distinct links from the rest of the websites in the network (n=6164)  The average in-degree of a website in the network is only 15,51 (SD: 42,53)  The network centralization shows that incoming hyperlinks are more concentrated to a range of websites than to one single top website (Indegree network centralization: 18%)
  8. 8. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Findings 2: Subcommunities and Linking Patterns Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication  Partisan websites show different linking patterns: conservative websites (n=1254) in the network are more centralized to specific party websites in their community (indegree centralization: 65%) and are showing a stronger homophily in their connectedness (E-I- Index: -0,7) than other partisan communities  Left (n=253) and green partisans (n=234) are more connected with the whole network and less centralized to singular websites in their community. They demonstrate a higher degree of heterophily (E-I-Index: +0,51, leftists; +0,22, greens). They also have more connections to non-partisan blogs  Blogs and media: While 7824 links were counted from blogs (n=999) to media sites, media sites (n=182) are hardly linking to blogs: Just 134 links were dedicated to blogs  But compared to the whole MAP-network (n=4538), the density in the blogger-media-network (n=1181) is remarkably higher: 0,043 vs. 0,0033 (or 13-times higher)
  9. 9. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Findings 2: Cross-linking between the Subcommunities  Compared to non-partisan websites and media websites, partisan sites are less likely to be connected with external sites (int. 90%, ext. 10%)  Conservative websites receive only 3% of their inbound links from external websites; also, sites in the Social Democrats’ cluster (ext.: 21%) and liberal sites (ext.: 24%) favor internal links  Leftists (46%) and Greens (35%) show different patterns and have more external links than other analyzed partisan communities  Media websites are primarily linked from external sites (89%); they do not prefer to actively link their competitors: the 272 media sites are just interlinked in 1684 distinct cases (11%)  Media websites only represent 6% of all sites in the whole MAP-network, but they get in total 60% of all external links and 23% of all distinct links (ext./int. not differentiated)
  10. 10. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Findings 2: Cross-linking between the Subcommunities Node size related to betweenness centrality Link weight: frequency of linking between subcommunities
  11. 11. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication TOP 100-Outlets (Overall Network, 6164 websites) Type of Website Rank: IVW News-related visits Germany 12/2009 Rank: AGOF internet facts III-2009 Network Indegree (01/2010) 1 spiegel.de/ traditional media outlet 2 3 1151 2 cdu.de/ political party website 910 3 sueddeutsche.de/ traditional media outlet 7 6 788 3 welt.de/ traditional media outlet 4 7 788 5 zeit.de/ traditional media outlet 10 10 750 6 faz.net/ traditional media outlet 8 11 711 7 bundestag.de/ political institution 654 8 taz.de/ traditional media outlet 21 24 644 9 focus.de/ traditional media outlet 5 5 546 10 tagesschau.de/ traditional media outlet 479 11 tagesspiegel.de/ traditional media outlet 20 16 461 12 stern.de/ traditional media outlet 9 8 413 13 bild.de/ traditional media outlet 1 2 412 13 angela-merkel.de/ politician related 412 15 heise.de/tp/ web-only outlet 402 16 ftd.de/ traditional media outlet 13 21 401 17 youtube.de/ social media 394 18 spd.de/ political party website 376 19 fr-online.de/ traditional media outlet 22 25 369 20 handelsblatt.com/ traditional media outlet 12 15 365 21 dradio.de/ traditional media outlet 347 22 basicthinking.de/ blog 311 22 netzpolitik.org/ blog 311 Findings 3: >> Among the top 100-list 42 traditional media outlets can be found, especially within the upper ranks >> The ranks 1-25 include mainly websites of media with national distribution and wider audience reach >> Blogs have also entered the top 100, 2 of them are among the top 25 in 01/2010 Data source: IVW/AGOF; Linkfluence in cooperation with University of Muenster Rank correlation (Top 100): Indegree 01/2010 compared to IVW rank: Pearson’s r=0,6, p<0,01 AGOF and IVW ranks (Top 100) with strong linearity: Pearson’s r>0,8, p<0,001
  12. 12. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication
  13. 13. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Top Blogs in the German Political Web  10 Blogs are listed among top 100 political and news related websites (01/2010, MAP-Network, 4538 websites) Rank 25: netzpolitik.org and basicthinking.de (each linked by 217 different sites in the sample) netzpolitik.org reported 1 million unique visits in july 2010 Rank 38: bildblog.de (173 different sites) Rank 43: nachdenkseiten.de (169 different sites) Rank 45: lawblog.de (166 different sites) Rank 50: spreeblick.de (149 different sites) Rank 63: spiegelfechter.com (120 different sites) Rank 64: stefan-niggemeier.de/blog and achgut.com (each linked by 119 different sites) Rank 77: blog.fefe.de (103 different sites)
  14. 14. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Conclusions  The observed concentration does not seem to structurally hinder diversity on the German political web  This moderate centralized structure prevents that one single news provider or website overly dominates communication flows  Traditional media and blogs complement each other, but traditional media still receives the biggest attention while most of the blogs get none  Findings show moderate cross-linking between partisan websites. It is not clear whether this leads to less polarization tendencies  Further research: more dynamic settings, in which changes within the network are analyzed and visualized  Research should also focus on how Social Networks like Twitter and Facebook may increase different linking patterns
  15. 15. Christian Nuernbergk, University of Muenster, Department of Communication Contact Christian Nuernbergk M. A. nuernbergk@uni-muenster.de Research Department on Internet Publics Chair: Prof. Dr. Christoph Neuberger The full expertise is downloadable at http://www.kek-online.de/kek/information/publikation/alm-band_43.pdf (in German)

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