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We study the linking patterns and discussion topics of political bloggers

The political blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. election: divided they blog

LinkKDD, pp.36-43, (2005)

Cited by: 3152|Views173
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Abstract

In this paper, we study the linking patterns and discussion topics of political bloggers. Our aim is to measure the degree of interaction between liberal and conservative blogs, and to uncover any differences in the structure of the two communities. Specifically, we analyze the posts of 40 "A-list" blogs over the period of two months prec...More

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Introduction
  • The 2004 U.S Presidential Election was the first presidential election in the United States in which blogging played an important role.
  • To republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specifi permission and/or a fee.
  • The size of each blog reflects the number of other blogs that link to it.
  • Because of bloggers’ ability to identify and frame breaking news, many mainstream media sources keep a close eye on the best known political blogs.
  • A number of mainstream news sources have started to discuss and even to host blogs
Highlights
  • The 2004 U.S Presidential Election was the first presidential election in the United States in which blogging played an important role
  • We found differences in the behavior of the two communities, with conservative blogs linking to a greater number of blogs and with greater frequency
  • We further found that the citations were concentrated among a smaller subset of the top 20 liberal blogs, but were relatively more distributed among the conservative blogs
  • In our study we witnessed a divided blogosphere: liberals and conservatives linking primarily within their separate communities, with far fewer cross-links exchanged between them. This division extended into their discussions, with liberal and conservative blogs focusing on different news, topics, and political figures
  • An interesting pattern that emerged was that conservative bloggers were more likely to link to other blogs: primarily other conservative blogs, and some liberal ones
  • While the conservative blogosphere was more densely linked, we did not detect a greater uniformity in the news and topics discussed by conservatives
Methods
  • In order to get a representative view of the liberal and conservative blog communities, the authors cast the nets wide and gathered a single day’s snapshot of over a thousand political blogs.
  • The authors gathered a large set of political blog URLs by downloading listings of political blogs from several online weblog directories, including eTalkingHead, BlogCatalog, CampaignLine, and Blogarama.
  • The authors attempted to retrieve a single, ‘front’ page for each blog on February 8, 2005.
  • From this set of pages, the authors counted up all citations to political weblogs not on the original list.
  • Neither the directory labels, which often rely on self-reported or automated categorizations, nor the manual labels, are 100% accurate
Results
  • 40% more links to one another, linking at a rate of 0.20 links per post, compared to just 0.12 for liberal blogs.
Conclusion
  • In the study the authors witnessed a divided blogosphere: liberals and conservatives linking primarily within their separate communities, with far fewer cross-links exchanged between them.
  • This division extended into their discussions, with liberal and conservative blogs focusing on different news, topics, and political figures.
  • Was it because of stronger interaction patterns of the conservatives, or did the liberals not want to discuss it?
Tables
  • Table1: The top 20 liberal and conservative blogs by post citation count (c) and overall rank (r) according to BlogPulse data (October - November 2004). The two right columns show for comparison how many liberal (lL) and conservative (lR) blogs from the larger set linked to the blog in February 2005. Also included are the number of posts in our data set for each weblog
  • Table2: Different methods produce different rankings, but the overlap in the top rated blogs is high. (Feb. 23, 2005 for Technorati, SiteMeter and TruthLaidBear; October - November 2004 for BlogPulse)
Download tables as Excel
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