In Search of Australian Blogs: Determining the Extent of the Contemporary Australian Blogosphere <ul><li>Axel Bruns, Jean ...
Understanding Blogs <ul><li>Blog research to date: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>qualitative studies of blogging genres, communiti...
Key Problems <ul><li>Technology limitations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>crawlers and scrapers often lack sophistication </li></...
Our Approach <ul><li>Process stages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>data gathering and processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>tr...
Content Analysis: Individual Blogs
Content Analysis: Political Blogosphere 4-5 August 2009 (graph: Tim Highfield)
Blog-Based Online Publics in Australia <ul><li>Finding Australian blogs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>from political blogs to Aus...
Early Observations <ul><li>Publics in the Australian blogosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>key blogging themes: </li></ul></u...
Next Steps <ul><li>Map the Australian blogosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>long-term map of frequent interlinkages, clusters...
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In Search of Australian Blogs: Determining the Extent of the Contemporary Australian Blogosphere

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Paper by Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess, presented at ANZCA 2010, Canberra, 8 July 2010.

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In Search of Australian Blogs: Determining the Extent of the Contemporary Australian Blogosphere

  1. 1. In Search of Australian Blogs: Determining the Extent of the Contemporary Australian Blogosphere <ul><li>Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Brisbane, Australia </li></ul>Image by campoalto
  2. 2. Understanding Blogs <ul><li>Blog research to date: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>qualitative studies of blogging genres, communities, and practices (e.g. Uses of Blogs , 2006, eds. Bruns & Jacobs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>quantitative studies of blog networks (e.g. issue-based or national) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Standard methodology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>find relevant blogs (search, Technorati, specific blog platform, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify links (on current page)  crawl to linked pages  repeat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>capture (scrape) text and other details (not always included) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>plot link network structure, correlate with blog content patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Big questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>structure of online publics – topical and other networks in the blogosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>growth, decline, or stable equilibrium in the population of bloggers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>patterns of flow and dissemination of information </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Key Problems <ul><li>Technology limitations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>crawlers and scrapers often lack sophistication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need to distinguish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>posts – comments – ancillary / functional texts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>discursive links – blogroll links – functional links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>want to slice data in different ways: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>select blog activity for specific days, weeks, months </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>select blog content and links for specific blogs or blog clusters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Analytical limitations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>patterns of interlinkage tell only part of the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maps provide only a temporary snapshot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>want to understand: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>what clusters have in common </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>and how they change over time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>later: crossover to Twitter , Flickr , YouTube , etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Our Approach <ul><li>Process stages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>data gathering and processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>track large number of (broadly) political Australian blogs through RSS feeds </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>scrape blog content for newly posted entries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>separate blog post content from ancillary materials / separate discursive links from other link types </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(grow master list of blogs as required) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>content analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>combine extracted blog post content (per blog, per cluster, per timeframe, …) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>automated analysis to identify key themes and keywords </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>currently using Leximancer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>network analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>combine extracted link information (overall, per timeframe, per cluster, …) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>automated network mapping to identify lead blogs and clusters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>currently using Gephi </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>combined analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. comparative content analysis for lead blogs and clusters in the link network </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. correlation of blogosphere patterns with external factors (parallel themes in mainstream media, etc.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>2009: Australian political blogs as test case </li></ul><ul><li>2010-12: ARC Discovery Project (Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Content Analysis: Individual Blogs
  6. 6. Content Analysis: Political Blogosphere 4-5 August 2009 (graph: Tim Highfield)
  7. 7. Blog-Based Online Publics in Australia <ul><li>Finding Australian blogs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>from political blogs to Australian blogs in general </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>defined as blogs in Australia, by Australians, and/or about Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Approach : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>drawing on existing Australian blog directories (e.g. OzBloggers.net ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>self-nominated lists, often outdated – no comprehensive list </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>harvest and cross-check lists (active? Australian?), some initial classification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>conduct network crawls from harvested population, add more blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>repeat until… ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no hope of finding all Australian blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>focus on blogs with at least some degree of visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>appropriate for study of online publics </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Early Observations <ul><li>Publics in the Australian blogosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>key blogging themes: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>maternity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>food </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>marketing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>expats </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>religion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identity and location not always clear, but: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Melbourne and Sydney > Brisbane > Perth and Adelaide > rest of the country </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>around 50%:50% male/female (+ one pet) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>many sea/tree/lifechangers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>next steps: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>crawling out from here to extend these populations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>find additional blogs and crawl their networks to fill in obvious thematic gaps </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>programmers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>self-help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>politics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>arts & crafts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>academic </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Next Steps <ul><li>Map the Australian blogosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>long-term map of frequent interlinkages, clusters of blog communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how isolated or interconnected are these online publics? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short-term maps of ad hoc networks around current events and themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(how) do they respond to key events – e.g. Gillard’s takeover? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trending topics and correlations with mainstream media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how do themes and topics change over time? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns of information flow, structures of dissemination and influence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>who passes on information within/across clusters? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Extend to other online publics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter , Flickr , YouTube – what can we track, what publics do we find? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are these spaces interconnected? </li></ul></ul>

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