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Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election (ANZCA 2009)

ANZCA 2009

Monitoring the Australian Blogosphere through the 2007 Australian Federal Election

Lars Kirchhoff, Thomas Nicolai, Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield

  • 8 July 2009 - ANZCA 2009, Brisbane

This paper examines the observable patterns of content creation by Australian political bloggers during the 2007 election and its aftermath, thereby providing insight into the level and nature of activity in the Australian political blogosphere during that time. The performance indicators which are identified through this process enable us to target for further indepth research, to be reported in subsequent papers, those individual blogs and blog clusters showing especially high or unusual activity as compared to the overall baseline. This research forms the first stage in a larger project to investigate the shape and internal dynamics of the Australian political blogosphere. In this first stage, we tracked the activities of some 230 political blogs and related Websites in Australia from 2 November 2007 (the final month of the federal election campaign, with the election itself taking place on 24 November) to 24 January 2008. We harvested more than 65,000 articles for this study.

Blogging and Democracy in Iran

Bugger: the ANZCA 2009 programme incorrectly listed Brian McNair's keynote for 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m., so I missed almost all of it - very, very frustrating. Hope someone else blogged it...

So, I'm now in the first panel session of this last conference day, and the first speaker in this session is Nazanin Ghanavizi, whose interest is in blogging in Iran - a very timely topic at this point, of course. She begins by noting that one of the most important factors of social life is being able to give voice to one's ideas. Iranian society is already highly active online, especially by blogging - Persian is a major blog language, with some one million blogs in Persian, even in spite of the comparatively small population of Persian-speakers worldwide.

Australian Political Blogs and the Obama Inauguration

The third speaker in this session at ANZCA 2009 is Tim Highfield, who works on a comparative study of political blogs in Australia and France (and is one of my PhD students). He focusses here on the Australian side and its reaction to the inauguration of Barack Obama. The project tracks some 245 blogs and news Websites in Australia, and extracts from these each post (and its links) as they become available online. These data are then quantitatively analysed for keyword and link patterns.

The Obama inauguration was a major political event, of course, and provided a useful case study for this work; other such samples could be the swine flu epidemic or the 'utegate' controversy storm in a teacup. Interestingly, only about 50 blogs in the population published a post or more during the two weeks surrounding the inauguration (possibly due to the fact that January is a major holiday month in Australia). There was no major spike on inauguration day itself, either.

First Quantitative Glimpses of Australian Political Blogging during the 2007 Federal Election

I'm the first speaker of the next session of ANZCA 2009, presenting some baseline data from our first test run of our blog mapping methodology during the Australian federal election in November 2007. The Powerpoint is below (with audio to follow soonish also online now), and the full paper is online as well. Links to more information are in the final slide of the Powerpoint.

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Chinese Mobile News, Australian Bloggers, and Youdecide2007: Publications Roundup

Time to catch up with a few publications - my recent work is featured in a number of new collections:

Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media, edited by Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth, collects some of the best papers from the Mobile Media 2007 conference (which I blogged about at the time) in Sydney. Looks like a fabulous collection, and I'm delighted that an article by former QUT Visiting Scholar Liu Cheng and me about SMS news in China has been included. We're looking especially at the experience at Yunnan Daily Press, where Cheng led the roll-out of SMS news functionality, and we're including some staggering statistics about the growth of Internet and mobile use in China as well (I wonder how they'll be affected by the global financial crisis...).

Australian Publishers Online: Still No Clue on the User-Generated Content Front?

The final Australasian Media & Broadcasting Congress panel for today shifts our focus from broadcasting to (print as well as online) publishing. Hugh Martin, General Manager of APN Online, opens the discussion by noting the long history of developing online counterparts to print newspapers (and the slightly shorter history of doing the same for magazines). He points to the recent announcement that the Christian Science Monitor is soon to cease its print version, moving entirely to an online newspaper, while magazine publisher Condé Nast has a very hard time working out how to make money online.

Blogs und Bürgerjournalismus - öffentliches Nachrichtenforum oder Startpunkt für neue politische Bewegungen? (ZMI 2008)

Blogs und Bürgerjournalismus: öffentliches Nachrichtenforum oder Startpunkt für neue politische Bewegungen?

Axel Bruns

  • 24 Oct. 2008 - "Das Internet zwischen egalitärer Teilhabe und ökonomischer Vermachtung", Zentrum für Medien und Interaktivität, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

Blogs, die sich mit politischen Ereignissen befassen, werden zumeist als neue, von Bürgern in Selbstverantwortung betriebene Alternativen zum traditionellen Journalismus dargestellt. Internetnutzer aktieren hier nicht mehr allein in einer Rolle als Informationsabrufer, sondern beteiligen sich in mehr oder weniger großem Umfang als Produzenten von Inhalten - insgesamt also in einer Mischrolle, die als 'Produtzer' (engl. produser) umschrieben werden kann.

Blogs, Citizen Journalism, and Their (Future) Role in Politics

My own keynote at this Web 2.0 and politics conference here in Gießen is next, in a session which discusses the possible impact of blogs, citizen journalism, and other forms of online political participation on wider political processes. My own thoughts as presented here build to some extent on the article I published in Information Polity earlier this year, and also draw on recent Australian examples (the role of Possums Pollytics in the Australian election campaign of 2007, and the new GetUp! project Project Democracy). I've posted the slides below, and will add the audio when I can the audio is now online, too.

Social Media and the Law

I've made the trip to a very cold and foggy Gießen in central Germany for a conference on what could be loosely described as the political dimensions of Web 2.0: "Das Internet zwischen egalitärer Teilhabe und ökonomischer Vermachtung". I'll be speaking later this morning, but we begin with a keynote by Karl-Heinz Ladeur. All of this will be in German, so blogging it in English will make for an interesting experience...

He begns by pointing out that new media are understood first through the paradigms of the old - TV dramas were filmed theatre, TV news were a reading-out of print news. The same is true for media law; it tends to transfer and tinker with old approaches in order to deal with new media, more or less successfully. This also foregrounds the individual, and places the medium as a means for the individual to communicate - which is not necessarily inappropriate, but takes focus away from the development of independent, indigenous principles in new media forms. (Another example is how long it has taken for arts publics to be treated differently - e.g. in terms of decency and pornography - from other publics. The juridical treatment of political publics is a further example here, as is the treatment of the private matters of celebrities.)

Gendered News, Gendered Technologies

It's the final session here at AoIR 2008. I've come in a little late for Lisa McLaughlin's presentation; she's been working in Malaysia to examine the Multimedia Super Corridor project which incorporates the Cyberjaya (technology) and Putrajaya (administration) districts.

The project was initiated in 1996 with much fanfare, but met with limited success as companies approached to develop representations there were initially reluctant to do so as the availability of a highly skilled technology workforce was doubtful. There was also strong skepticism about the project from the local community, not least because the building of the MSC required the displacement of existing communities of Tamil plantation workers. If knowledge societies require 'fast subjects', then these existing communities were now pushed into a position of 'slow subjects' providing menial services to those working and living in the MSC.


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