…and then the world

“where nothing we’ve actually seen has been mapped or outlined…”

phrases of the blogosphere

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memetracker

Another visualisation of blog (and other media) data: MemeTracker provides an alternative to the likes of Blogpulse, tracking stories and events across the blogosphere and mainstream media online through the presence of key quotes and phrases. The resulting visualisation shows the popularity and also lifetime of a particular story – for example, the Obama quip “you can put lipstick on a pig”. Looking at quotes and phrases is a useful method – the political one-liner can pop up years after the story itself has been dealt with, haunting later politicians and administrations. Indeed, a thread over at Larvatus Prodeo has reminded me of John Howard’s “If I were running Al-Qaeda in Iraq I would put a circle around March 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats” (reported, for example, on the 7.30 Report back in February 2007)…

MemeTracker also has a ranking of sites used in its data gathering, based on their response time to stories, whether they are ahead of the curve or not. The usual blog suspects, the likes of Huffington Post and Daily Kos, not to mention Drudge, are among the quickest at reporting stories containing the phrases being tracked, with the Huffington Post in particular featuring nearly three out of four tracked phrases. Australian news sites vary with their response rates. http://www.news.com.au is the quickest to report out of those I saw from a quick glance, two hours before the fairfax duo of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age (and also news.com.au …), while theaustralian.news.com.au on average only covers stories with said phrases at their peak popularity… The news.com.au, SMH, Age coverage also feature over 50% of the phrases, compared to 34% for the Australian ABC and 30-50% for the majority of British news sites (news.bbc.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, timesonline.co.uk) – although the Guardian, one of the earliest of the UK sites to report the phrases, gets up to 70% (possibly due to its blog integration and amount of online-specific content?). There are plenty of aspects of MemeTracker to still investigate – which sites are on the source list, which aren’t, particularly international blogs (as opposed to international news sites), as the phrases used are, understandably, US-centric, and whether the sites earlier to cover stories influence the coverage of the subsequent sites, but it’s another interesting approach to tracking political discussion online and visualising it.

[via information aesthetics]

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Written by Tim

11 November, 2008 at 3:18 pm

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