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Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election

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Paper presented at ANZCA 2009, Brisbane, 8-10 July 2009.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election

  1. 1. Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election Lars Kirchhoff, Thomas Nicolai Sociomantic Labs, Berlin lars.kirchhoff, thomas.nicolai@sociomantic.com http://sociomantic.com/ Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane a.bruns, t.highfield@qut.edu.au http://snurb.info/, http://andthentheworld.wordpress.com/
  2. 2. Work in Progress • Part of a larger research project: – Mapping public online communication – Researchers at Sociomantic Labs, Berlin, and CCi, Brisbane – Large-scale mixed-methods (qual./quant.) approach • First iteration: – Australian political blogosphere, 2 Nov. 2007 to 24 Jan. 2008 – Tracking ~230 blogs and related Websites – Scraping text and links only from articles • i.e. excluding blogrolls, comments, headers, footers, etc. – Tracking activity over time, as it happens • i.e. no retroactive crawling and mapping – Further refinement of analysis to follow
  3. 3. Overall Activity (blogs & mainstream news sites) 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 Posts Outgoing Links 800 600 400 200 0 5.11.2007 12.11.2007 19.11.2007 26.11.2007 3.12.2007 10.12.2007 17.12.2007 24.12.2007 31.12.2007 7.01.2008 14.01.2008 21.01.2008
  4. 4. Overall Activity (blogs & mainstream news sites) 1400 1200 1000 -13% 800 Posts/day Outgoing Links/day 600 400 200 0 5.11.2007 12.11.2007 19.11.2007 26.11.2007 3.12.2007 10.12.2007 17.12.2007 24.12.2007 31.12.2007 7.01.2008 14.01.2008
  5. 5. Linking to Others (blogs & mainstream news sites) 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 Links within population Links outside population 800 600 400 200 0 5.11.2007 12.11.2007 19.11.2007 26.11.2007 3.12.2007 10.12.2007 17.12.2007 24.12.2007 31.12.2007 7.01.2008 14.01.2008 21.01.2008
  6. 6. Publishing Activity (blogs & mainstream news sites) 9000 8000 7000 6000 Australian News 5000 International News Blogger/Columnist Opinion Site 4000 Blogger 3000 2000 1000 0
  7. 7. Publishing Activity (without mainstream news)
  8. 8. Publishing Activity (top 50, without mainstream news) 1400 • crikey.com.au • creative2567.blogspot.com • blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt • theaustralian.news.com.au (opinion pages) 1200 • antonyloewenstein.com • onlineopinion.com.au • blogs.thewest.com.au • www.onlineopinion.com.au 1000 • problogger.net • andrewlanderyou.blogspot.com • clubtroppo.com.au • todaysapatheticyouth.blogspot.com 800 • larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com • larvatusprodeo.net • blogs.news.com.au/news/blogocracy • fraises.blogspot.com Blogger/Columnist • trevorcook.typepad.com 600 Opinion Site • iainhall.wordpress.com Blogger • howardout.blogspot.com • www.news.com.au/heraldsun (opinion pages) • kalimna.blogspot.com 400 • hrw.org • petermartin.blogspot.com • webdiary.com.au • pollbludger.com 200 0
  9. 9. Links Received (from within the full population of sites)
  10. 10. Links Received (top 50, from within the full population of sites) 1. www.abc.net.au/news/indexes/justin/ 2. news.bbc.co.uk 3. larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com 4. clubtroppo.com.au 5. johnquiggin.com 6. blogs.thewest.com.au 7. larvatusprodeo.net 8. crikey.com.au 9. petermartin.blogspot.com 10. eternalweightofglory.blogspot.com 11. blogs.news.com.au/news/news 12. todaysapatheticyouth.blogspot.com 13. crookedtimber.org 14. blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt 15. ninglun.wordpress.com 16. pollbludger.com 17. roadtosurfdom.com 18. realclimate.org 19. anonymouslefty.blogspot.com 20. kalimna.blogspot.com
  11. 11. Assessing Importance and Impact • Interpreting the data: – What indicates a site’s opinion leadership? – Publishing activity no indication of readership – Inlinks received also dependent on number of posts published • Inlinks : Posts ratio: – Better indication of the impact of a site’s posts – Many posts, few inlinks: much to say, but no-one’s listening – Fewer posts, more inlinks: rewarded for quality over quantity
  12. 12. Inlinks : Posts (top 50) 1 Blog Posts Inlinks Ratio 0.9 johnquiggin.com 84 80 0.95 larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com 185 107 0.58 0.8 eternalweightofglory.blogspot.com 124 67 0.54 problogger.net 259 136 0.53 petermartin.blogspot.com 141 75 0.53 0.7 ambit-gambit.nationalforum.com.au 53 24 0.45 blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/coverington 18 8 0.44 larvatusprodeo.net 183 78 0.43 0.6 marklawrence.blogspot.com 47 20 0.43 roadtosurfdom.com 104 44 0.42 0.5 yobbo.wordpress.com 27 11 0.41 Blogger clubtroppo.com.au 219 83 0.38 Opinion Site ninglun.wordpress.com 131 50 0.38 International News 0.4 pollbludger.com 136 47 0.35 Blogger/Columnist Australian News 0.3 0.2 0.1 0
  13. 13. Outlinks : Posts (top 50) 1.8 1.6 Blog Posts Outlinks Ratio 1.4 clubtroppo.com.au 219 365 1.67 marklawrence.blogspot.com 47 42 0.89 1.2 larvatusprodeo.net 183 140 0.77 larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com 185 116 0.63 thedonkeyvote.com 51 31 0.61 1 blogs.abc.net.au/thepollvault/ 105 57 0.54 problogger.net 259 138 0.53 eternalweightofglory.blogspot.com 124 58 0.47 Blogger 0.8 Opinion Site laruth.livejournal.com 63 26 0.41 mushroomandrooster.net 57 23 0.40 Blogger/Columnist ninglun.wordpress.com 131 50 0.38 0.6 rwdb.blogspot.com 60 22 0.37 0.4 0.2 0
  14. 14. Average Article Length 14 12 10 8 Blogger Opinion Site Blogger/Columnist 6 4 2 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100
  15. 15. Inlinks : Posts (x) vs. Word Length (y) 1200.00 1000.00 800.00 600.00 400.00 200.00 0.00 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6
  16. 16. Further Outlook • First impressions only: – Need to establish baseline for comparisons • What level of activity is ‘average’ for Australian political discussion? • What ‘normal’ seasonal variations exist, away from election time? – Need to track development over time • How stable is the ‘A-List’ of leading sites? • How much do external factors influence attention (news, crises)? – Need to map link networks • What clusters of closely linked sites exist, and why? – Need to determine topical content • Common thematic patterns in popular blogs / posts? • Common themes in site clusters?
  17. 17. Further Information • Continued coverage of the project: – snurb.info (Axel Bruns) – And Then the World (Tim Highfield) – Gatewatching.org (Jason Wilson, Barry Saunders, Axel Bruns) • Articles: – “Discussion Paper: Network and Concept Maps for the Blogosphere” (Bruns, Kirchhoff, Nicolai, Wilson, Saunders, Highfield, 2008) – “Locating the Australian Blogosphere: Towards a New Research Methodology” (Bruns, Wilson, Saunders, Highfield, Kirchhoff, and Nicolai, ISEA conference 2008) – “Australia's Political Blogosphere in the Aftermath of 2007 Federal Election” (Bruns, Wilson, Saunders, Kirchhoff, Nicolai, AoIR conference 2008) • Sociomantic Labs: – Sociomantic.com (Lars Kirchhoff and Thomas Nicolai)

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