Monday, March 14, 2005


HatTip to The Washington Monthly (wow, i'm tipping to a liberal rag:). Neat study on the political blogosphere by Lada Adamic and Natalie Glance. Interesting conclusion that Kevin Drum emphasizes below about how conservatives have a stronger sense of community in the blogsphere, but doesn't that reflect the offline world? Without trying to be partisan, but doesn't the strength of the ideas and principles from the right make a stronger bond than those on the left?

The authors collected a sample of 40 political blogs, 20 from the right and 20 from the left, and then plotted the links between them over a period of time. The top diagram shows all connections, the middle diagram includes only connections that have at least five reciprocal links, and the bottom diagram includes only connections that have at least 25 reciprocal links. I'm represented by blue circle #16, for example, and if you think that I link frequently to Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshall, Tapped, and Brad DeLong — well, now you've got geometrical proof of it.

There are a few interesting observations here:

-The conservative blogosphere has a generally denser web of relationships than the liberal blogosphere. More on this later.

-However, it also includes the least connected major blogs. In the bottom diagram, the only large blogs without a single connection are both on the right: Andrew Sullivan and RealClear Politics.

-Generally speaking, there aren't very many ongoing relationships between right and left. You only need five links to get a connection in the middle diagram, but even so there are only three connections between right and left: Sullivan-Marshall, Sullivan-Kos, and Volokh-Crooked Timber.

The primary finding of the study (or at least the finding I think is the most interesting) is that conservative blogs have a stronger sense of community than liberal blogs — a quality that I often wish liberals could emulate. Here's what Adamic and Glance found:

-Conservatives link to other conservative blogs at a much higher rate than liberals link to other liberals: .20 links per post compared to .12 links per post.

-Conservative bloggers have a more "uniform voice" than liberal bloggers, as measured by what they link to. If you count only links to blogs, not media reports, the difference in uniformity is even greater. (However, on another measure, the "echo chamber" quality of liberal and conservative blogs is about the same.)

-Liberal bloggers tend to link to a fairly small subset of other liberals. Conservatives spread the link love around.
(full post)

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