researching the political blogosphere
February 28, 2008
A series of questions I’m working on at the moment and some of the resources I’ve found:
- How do ideas move through the political blogosphere?
- What role does the political blogosphere play in “agenda setting” within the mainstream media (msm), political party elites, and networks of expertise (think tanks, consultants, etc.)?
- Do these roles vary for blogs on the right versus blogs on the left
- Also, how does blog governance operate across the political spectrum? Is there a predominant model of community organization that has emerged? Are there patterns that correspond to whether the blogs come from right or left?
- How do large, collaborative blogs produce stable community and governance structures? To what degree are they self-organizing and to what degree do they rely on various “levers” to reproduce stable patterns of collaboration and sufficiently low rates of defection?
Some interesting tools that should help me approach these problems include the following:
- Chapter 7 of Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks
- Existing tools that measure blog influence such as Blog Pulse from Nielsen and an interesting looking French project called blogopole
- Several papers and reports such as: “The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere” (which incidentally, seems to answer a few of those questions about the differences between right and left – at least, as of 2006); the work of Lara Adamic (I think she designed some of the blog tools like Blog Pulse); Matthew Hindman’s research on stuff like “googlearchy”; and whatever it is Ed Chi and the folks working on “Augmented Social Cognition” are up to at PARC in Palo Alto..
There are others (and I’ll try to keep adding them as I dig them up), but this is a good start. The big questions that I can try to answer here really have to do with the way this architecture (in the sense that a community design is often unplanned) relates to the “culture” of the political blogosphere. How does citizenship – or something like it – emerge in the blogosphere and other social spaces of the collaborative web? Why are the power-sellers uniting and what are they going to do?