You are here

Blogs and Blogging

Mapping Online Publics: Methodological Observations

The next speaker at ‘Doing Global Media Studies’ is my CCI colleague Jean Burgess, presenting on our Mapping Online Publics research project; this presentation is the methodological part, and I’ll show some more results at the main ECREA 2010 conference later in the week. Our research is part of an ARC Discovery project exploring methods for examining Australian social media use – the aim is to develop methods for computer-assisted cultural analysis. Over the course of the three years, we’ll examine blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

Here’s Jean’s Powerpoint, and my transcript is below, too. I’ll add the audio later.

The Trouble with the Fourth Estate

I spoke at an event organised by the Queensland Chapter of the Australasian Study of Parliament Group last night, in the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe – alongside Democrats leader turned Greens candidate Andrew Bartlett, On Line Opinion founder Graham Young, and Courier-Mail political journalist Craig Johnstone.

The theme of the evening was ‘whether bloggers are the new fourth estate’ – and here’s what  had to say (a bit of a rant, as is pretty much unavoidable after the election campaign we’ve had):

Mapping Online Publics

Just a quick plug for yet another project blog: as regular readers of this blog may know, with my colleague Jean Burgess and our collaborators Lars Kirchhoff and Thomas Nicolai at Sociomantic Labs I was successful in winning an ARC Discovery grant in last year’s round, for a three-year project aiming to map public communication in Australia across a range of social media spaces.

With the project now getting underway in earnest (and we’ve already presented our methodology and early outcomes at a number of conferences), Jean and I have now set up Mapping Online Publics as a blog to cover our research methods and outcomes.

In Search of Australian Blogs: Determining the Extent of the Contemporary Australian Blogosphere (ANZCA 2010)

ANZCA 2010

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

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess

  • 8 July 2010 - ANZCA conference, Canberra

Blogs, and the networked systems of blogging known as "blogospheres", are now part of the landscape of public communication in Australia. However, much of the research into Australian blogging has focussed only on selected genres and topics of blogging - political blogs (Bruns, 2008), personal diaries, knitting blogs (Humphreys, 2008), fiction blogs (Thomas, 2006) -, but is unable to provide a more comprehensive overview of the relative interest in and interconnections between these topics and communities. As part of a three-year ARC Discovery project that assesses the contribution of blogs and other forms of user-created content to public communication, this paper discusses the methodological challenges in developing a more comprehensive list of Australian blogs which may be used by researchers to study the Australian blogosphere in a more systematic and inclusive manner.

Finding the Australian Blogosphere

My own paper with Jean Burgess on our Discovery project mapping Australian blogs (and online publics more generally) is next at ANZCA 2010. I'm including the Powerpoint below, and this time I think the audio recording worked as well, so I'll add this as soon as possible, too. with audio recording!

Technorati : , , , , , : , , , , ,

The Collective Individualism of Activist Bloggers in Singapore

We're moving rapidly towards the conclusion of this ICA 2010 conference. The next session I'm attending starts with a paper by Carol Soon, whose interest is in activist bloggers. She notes the rise of net-activisim and transnational social movements. While the genesis of blogging lies in personal gratification, blogs also have a transformative power and can lead to greater civic engagement, by disseminating information and facilitating information exchange.

Previous studies have examined both bloggers' uses and gratifications as well as the hyperlinking and network structure of blogs and blogging; Carol's study adds to this by exploring the collective identity of Singapore activist bloggers and its role in engendering social action. Is there a tension betwen the individual and the collective?

Mapping the Australian Networked Public Sphere (ICA 2010)

ICA 2010

Mapping the Australian Networked Public Sphere

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Tim Highfield, Lars Kirchhoff, and Thomas Nicolai

  • 25 June 2010 - International Communication Association conference, Singapore

This paper reports on a research program that has developed new methodologies for mapping the Australian political blogosphere (Bruns et al. 2009, 2008a/b; Kirchhoff et al. 2009). We improve on conventional Web crawling methodologies in a number of significant ways: First, we track blogging activity as it occurs, by scraping new blog posts when such posts are announced through RSS feeds, rather than by crawling existing content in the blogosphere after the fact. Second, we utilise custom-made tools that distinguish between the different types of content and thus allow us to analyse only the salient discursive content provided by bloggers, without contaminating our data with static links and ancillary material. Finally, we are able to examine these better-quality data by using both link network mapping and textual analysis tools, to produce both cumulative longer-term maps of interlinkages and themes across the blogosphere, and specific shorter-term snapshots of current activity which indicate clusters of heavy interlinkage and highlight key themes and topics being discussed within these clusters in the wider network.

Mapping the Norwegian Blogosphere

The final speaker in this ICA 2010 session is Hallvard Moe, whose focus is also on mapping the blogosphere. What is its structure, as part of the wider public sphere; where are the borders of its community, and how communal is it -how are its interlinkages distributed?

Studies of the public sphere and online media tend to focus on specific 'noteworthy' forms of public communication and deliberation, but we need a wider definition of public communication than just 'political debate'. Blogs can be organised along a continuum spanned by the three axes of content (from internal to topical), directional (from monological to dialogical) and style (from intimate to objective); public sphere research tends to focus mainly on one point in that continuum, and we need to move beyond this.

Mapping the Australian Networked Public Sphere

The post-lunch session at ICA 2010 this Friday starts with our own presentation on our large network mapping project, and I'm posting the Powerpoint below. No luck recording the audio this time, unfortunately - looks like my recorder is out of juice!

How Sustainable Is Blogging?

The next presenter at ICA 2010 is Jonathan Zhu, and his focus is on the dynamics of blog participation. The big change of Web 2.0 is that it threatens the traditional division of labour in publishing, and that more people can become active participants in online publishing - and many have, but how sustainable is such activity? What predicts whether people who start blogs continue their blogging activities?

In other words, how long do bloggers stay active before quitting? How do we define 'active', how do we measure the duration of their activities? Jonathan conducted a survival rate analysis which took both these questions into account - examining two time windows: a stringent criterion which required blogs to be active at least once per month, and a more lenient one which required a post at least once in six months, to be counted as still operational.


Subscribe to RSS - Blogs and Blogging