Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Paper on Blog Readership

Self-Segregation or Deliberation? Blog Readership, Participation, and Polarization in American Politics

There is active debate among political scientists and political theorists over the relationship between participation and deliberation among citizens with different political viewpoints. Internet based blogs provide an important testing ground for these scholars’ theories, especially as political activity on the Internet becomes increasingly important. In this article, we use the first major dataset describing blog readership to examine the relationship between deliberation, polarization and political participation among blog readers. We find that, as existing theories might predict, blog readers tend to read blogs that accord with their political beliefs. Cross-cutting readership of blogs on both the left and right of the spectrum is relatively rare. Furthermore, we find strong evidence of polarization among blogreaders, who tend to be more polarized than both non-blog-readers and consumers of various television news programs, and roughly as polarized as US Senators. Blog readers are also substantially more likely to participate in politics than non-blog readers. However, in contrast to previous research on offline social networks, we do not find that cross-cutting exposure to blogs of different ideological dispositions lowers participation. Instead, we find that cross-cutting blog readers are about as likely as left wing blog readers to participate in politics, and that both are significantly more likely than right wing blog readers to participate. We suggest that this may reflect social movement building efforts by left wing bloggers. (complete paper here)
In short, blog readers tend to read blogs which reflect their views. It appears that conservatives prefer not to read leftist (liberal) blogs. Leftists, however, tend to visit conservative blogs. The supposition is that this is mostly to troll.

Well, how about that? I can understand that. Reading blogs which don't align with my views, unless there's something new or interesting there (stop laughing) and not the same-old same-old, is a sure-fire way to raise the blood pressure and put one in an unhappy mood.

More comment and assessment at just one minute.

(thanks to Minicapt)

1 comment:

Boy on a bike said...

I like to have my point of view challenged, if it is done in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. I particularly like reading Mark Latham in the Fin Review, and wish that he wrote more often. I don't always agree with him, but he never writes like a bloody idiot.

The problem with most left wing blogs is that they appear to be written by people who have little grasp of reality.

I will state that conservatives are more likely to hang around (or put up with the company) of lefties than the other way around. Conservatives are more open to new ideas, and have the patience, forebearance and politeness to listen to people spouting utter crap. In other words, we mix widely.

Lefties tend to congregate in packs and self exclude anyone that fails to fit their mentality, hence sayings like "I don't know anyone that voted for John Howard".

Well, I know plenty of people that do and plenty of people that didn't. I know people that have voted Democrat, Liberal, Labor, Green and One Nation.

Lefties should get out more.