Some Encouraging News About Blogs

Over at Crooked Timber, Henry Farrell has an interesting post up on partisanship in the blog world. He cites a study (behind a paywall) examining the linking behavior of blogs.

Eszter and her colleagues work from a sample of 40 well-known political blogs, and examine how these blogs did or didn’t link to each other over three week-long periods. Like previous studies, they find that the majority of links are between blogs sharing the same ideological position. However, over the three weeks examined, only five of the conservative blogs never link to a liberal blog, and only three of the liberal blogs never link to a conservative one. In general, they find that there is evidence that blogs are somewhat insular (they are far more inclined to link to other blogs like them than to blogs with different ideological positions), but far from being insulated (there still is a fair amount of left-right conversation going on). In general they find “no support for the claim that IT will lead to increasingly fragmented discourse online.”

More interesting still, Eszter and co. do some basic content analysis on the substance of links between left and right wing blogs.

I’m dying to read this study; go over and read the whole post at CT (and ignore the trollbait in the comments); we actually have some interesting empirical data to work with – let’s explore where it takes us.

I’ve been noodling over a similar project for several months, based on Memeorandum.

Looking at the link clouds that develop around stories there, it appears superficially that left and right blogs don’t link – at all – to the same stories. If true, that’s depressing. One of these days I’ll get the time to do some analysis and see if it’s true or not – unless one of you readers beats me to it.

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