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linkfluence visualise the French blogosphere (or bits of it) (twice!)

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Previously mentioned on several occasions, linkfluence/rtgi, who are leading the way in not just visualising maps of online networks but also giving several levels of information and scalabity, have in the last week or so released two visualisations for different sites. Last year, of course, they produced PresidentialWatch08 for the US Presidential election, and in 2007 had Observatoire Presidentielle for the French equivalent. Now come two new maps, one blog-centric and the other providing a more topical view of website connections.


First is the Wikiopole, for Wikio (a search and ranking site, who have also been developing tools for researchers, including their Backlink Factory). Depicting the connections between the top 1500 ranked blogs, and with sites coded based on their category (political, science, sport, etc), the map provides another overview of the state of the French blogosphere, this time in May 2009 (and may be useful if a map comes out every month/several months – in which case, archiving each edition would be rather handy). It’s also good to see visualisations not just looking at the political side of things (not that’s necessarily a bad thing, but there are plenty of ways to subdivide networks of blogs). Plus, as an overall blogosphere study, there’s scope to compare the statistical layout of the linkfluence map to the personal work from ouinon.net in 2007, despite the long period between the production of the particular maps.


The second map is for touteleurope.fr, looking at 2046 sites (not just blogs) discussing Europe(an politics) in French. There’s quite a bit of cross-over, understandably, between this map and the Observatoire Presidentielle, although it’s less concerned with the different political ideologies present and the types of site and separating the analysts from the ‘militants’, for example.

I’m on a rather slow internet connection at the moment (and unfortunately the two maps take a while to load for me), and still waiting for some information before looking further at the two maps – a lengthier write-up will come, but for the moment any new work in the French blogosphere, political or not, and in network studies and visualisations (even with reservations about methods or outputs, as the case may be) is welcome.


Written by Tim

6 May, 2009 at 6:31 pm

into the eurosphere

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I’m still behind on all my RSS feeds after October, so rather than try and catch up, here’s something new(er). Over the weekend just gone, the Personal Democracy Forum – Europe (PDFEU/#pdfeu if you want to trawl the twitter archives) was held in Barcelona. Having only found out about it on Friday evening Brisbane time, as it was getting underway in Spain, I wasn’t attending the conference itself, but through the wonders of live streaming (run by Civico and containing audio, twitter, and CoverItLive live blogging), I was able to listen to the first few sessions on Friday. [The other sessions from Friday and Saturday are archived on the site at the moment if there’s anything that looks interesting]

There were several interesting discussions and topics, some of which were unfortunately missed due to sleep needs or being break-out sessions not streamed live, although information on those might be available on the live streaming site now. However, the most immediately impressive presentation coming out of PDFEU (certainly given my research interests) was that by Anthony Hamelle and Clémence Lerondeau of linkfluence (leaders in social network mapping and mentioned here several times previously). In their presentation, they unveiled a new linkfluence project, moving beyond their previous studies of French/U.S. political blogs or (French language discussion of) European topics on the internet. Instead, the latest study (visualisation below) looks at the ‘Eurosphere’ – blogs and websites run by commentators, parties, think tanks, activists, journalists, and so on, from France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy (the analysis also features a Europe affairs-specific cluster, drawing from all four nations). For specific information, I’d recommend going through the presentation itself (with audio available from the PDFEU streaming site), and also the accompanying linkfluence blog post. There’s more information to come, obviously, but a few findings are already particularly interesting: first, the varying bridging/gatekeeping population found in the different national spheres (the French having the most bridging bloggers), and indeed the very presence and function of bridge bloggers (Ethan Zuckerman has written about this subject previously, although not for as specific a context as European (political) topics). The comparative lack of interaction between national spheres is also interesting (bridging happening more between the EU-specific cluster and the national spheres), language could possibly be a factor, although the greater tendency of a particular group (Euro-sceptics and anti-federalists) to engage in conversations across the boundaries of the national spheres makes this finding a particularly fascinating topic for future research (well, maybe)!

There will be more coming out of this project from linkfluence, as the final slide shows, but the teaser material unveiled at pdfeu – and the topical case study used in the presentation, looking at the EU Presidency as a discussion topic over the previous month – suggests that the scope of this study will provide some interesting information on discussions and interactions at an international level:

Eurosphere (2009) by linkfluence

[Also, from a purely aesthetic perspective, how great (and clean) does the visualisation itself look?]

Written by Tim

23 November, 2009 at 8:26 pm

october review

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or, what I did on my travels, 5 October – 4 November 2009 (listed here mostly in case my memory fails):

No, really?


Projects, institutes, and groups visited/discussed


Exhibitions, shows, galleries, and museums

Books read

  • Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby
  • Gentlemen of the Road – Michael Chabon
  • Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Bicycle Diaries – David Byrne


  • Chicago
  • Milwaukee
  • San Francisco
  • Palo Alto
  • Seattle
  • New Orleans
  • Boston
  • Paris
  • Bruxelles
  • Perth


  • 13 flights
  • 10 trains
  • 28 metro/subway rides
  • 16 buses
  • 7 taxis
  • 4 trams
  • 2 ferries
  • 1 monorail
  • 1 bike
  • a lot of walking…

Written by Tim

8 November, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Posted in conference, ir10, links, lists, travel

more links from the tubes

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A few things from around the traps that have come up recently (and have been noted elsewhere already!)

1. the 3rd International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media happened a few weeks ago in San Jose, California – going from the papers from last year and the provision of a dataset for people to use before submitting papers for this year’s conference, there may well be some interesting new work coming out of the proceedings. May try and get over to Washington D.C. for next year’s conference.

2. Sciences-Po in Paris unveiled their Medialab with presentations by Richard Rogers (govcom/issuecrawler), Yochai Benkler, the gephi team, and the webatlas team – with the rtgi group based out at Compiegne, north of Paris in Picardie, there’s a couple of exciting projects and labs taking shape in France at the moment.

3. Meanwhile, over at the Berman Center at Harvard, the I&D team have launched an interactive version of the Iranian blogosphere map documented in a paper released early last year. Haven’t had much time to test it out yet, but given the other international projects happening over that way at the moment and the linkfluence/rtgi-type projects, this kind of interactive, rather than static, output may become more common in blog and internet network analysis and mapping.

4. Speaking of maps and internet networks, there’s been a bit of coverage of the new map of social (network) dominance over at techcrunch. Obviously, the general dominance, in western countries at least, of facebook over allcomers is a major talking point, but it’s also worth comparing the map to that produced two years ago. Again, facebook’s spread is particularly evident, but whereas in 2007 myspace still had a majority, of whatever margin, of dominance in such countries as Australia, the US, Italy, and Greece, facebook usurping it in all four of those countries, as well as taking over most of western Europe and claiming a large chunk of Africa, leaves myspace’s sole outpost in 2009 as… Guam? The move of facebook into many languages has also meant that the previously language-specific clusters – such as skyblog’s control of francophone nations – is eroded. There’s more to be taken from both maps, and I haven’t looked at any of the numbers involved here – both maps use data from Alexa, but as noted in the Techcrunch post there’s some debate as to whether myspace or facebook are the leading social network in the US. However, I’ll leave it on one final, pleasing point – that the 2009 map, being zoomable and able to select and customise views, has been produced using ManyEyes (mentioned here many times previously).

Written by Tim

10 June, 2009 at 4:58 pm

links for 2009-02-02

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Written by Tim

3 February, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Spread and measurement

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A few cool tools and projects looking at the spread of memes and discussion across blogs, and also a barometer of what is being linked to by different sides of, and across, the ideological divide between political blogs. [Yes, I’m a bit behind with this…]

First, via Data Mining and Linkfluence, the team at Presidential Watch 08 (run by Linkfluence and mentioned previously) have released videos and data showing the spread of John McCain’s celebrity ad across the blogosphere, and also the response video from Paris Hilton (and yes, I may have doomed my blog for eternity with three of the four words before the parentheses). It is fairly close to part of what I’d like to ideally do for my project, that being using the pre-existing map created in June, and overlaying the spread of the memes on the map. The John McCain map is here, and the Paris Hilton map is here.

Second, via Ethan Zuckerman, Shifting the Debate is a site developed by Morningside Analytics that measures “the movement of ideas through social networks”, again focusing on the US political blogosphere (apparently there’s something important happening next week). Their main tool so far is the Political Video Barometer, showing the most popular videos being linked to by conservative and liberal bloggers, be they campaign spots, interviews, viral videos, or even Wassup 2008. Again, it’s something I’d like to feature in my research – one of the people involved in Morningside, John Kelly, also co-authored a paper (with Bruce Etling) on the Persian-language blogosphere earlier this year which, as well as identifying thematic clusters within the network, also categorised groups of sites being linked to (such as international news sites), and saw which groups were linking to what. Ethan Zuckerman’s write-up of the Political Video Barometer is very informative and humorous, while Bruce Etling has also discussed it, so I’d recommend you read those for analysis, but I’ll quote a section of Zuckerman’s post here (and thus get to feature something else I meant to blog a while ago):

What’s the most popular video evenly linked by liberals and conservatives? Turns out we can all agree that remaking eighties music videos by narrating what happens in inexplicably trippy videos is an excellent idea. Yes, we all love the literal version of Take On Me. Perhaps there’s hope for political compromise in the United States after all.

Written by Tim

29 October, 2008 at 3:16 pm

watching the prospectives

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Reading through the proceedings (official and blogged) from various conferences around the world (and, being at a uni featuring more acronyms than you’d care to imagine, I really like the fact there’s a ‘PDF’), I’ve come across some sites and blogs that may be useful over the next few years. At the moment, of course, the scope of my PhD project is still being determined, but having spent the last month or so testing out and reading about blog map visualisations, I’m fascinated by PresidentialWatch08, which was presented at the PDF earlier this week.

Five months off the U.S. Presidential election, PresidentialWatch08 (created by linkfluence) combines several aspects of political blog networks that I’ve been considering; not purely a visualisation of the (U.S.) political blogosphere, it also tracks trends in blog posts, the frequency of political actors appearing in posts, and crucially has the same data for ‘news’ sites. The map itself, though, provides some useful pointers for future research. MSM sites and candidate sites are included, rather than focussing solely on blogs, and rather than a simple ‘Republican’/’Democrat’ coding, sites are manually categorised as ‘Conservative’, ‘Independent’, ‘Mass Media’, and ‘Progressive’ – something to keep in mind for classifying Australian and French sites. Just to make it more impressive, the map also connects sites based on inlinks, outlinks, and mutual links (with different colouring for each kind). I’ll save a full investigation of the site for when I’ve finished my current work, but it’s definitely a project to keep an eye on.

[found via …My heart’s in Accra]

Written by Tim

26 June, 2008 at 7:34 pm