Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election
Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere
through the 2007 Australian Federal Election
Lars Kirchhoff, Thomas Nicolai
Sociomantic Labs, Berlin
Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
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
Links Received (from within the full population of sites)
Links Received (top 50, from within the full population of sites)
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
• 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?
• Continued coverage of the project:
– snurb.info (Axel Bruns)
– And Then the World (Tim Highfield)
– Gatewatching.org (Jason Wilson, Barry Saunders, Axel Bruns)
– “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)