Thursday, June 09, 2005

Group-think a non-partisan activity

We know that the Web is all about subcultures, and that's true for political bloggers as well. This article also shows not only that that conservative bloggers link to liberal blogs slightly less than vice versa -- which isn't too suprising, since the views of those in power are of more interest both to those in power and to those out of power -- but also that conservative bloggers have a much denser network of mutual citations than do liberal bloggers. The authors asked whether this meant that the conservatives in fact suffer from greater "groupthink" (or "the echo chamber effect") than do liberals; after significant technical analysis,* they conclude that the answer is No, conservatives do not "echo" each any other more than Democrats, they just discuss things more intensely.

What the denser linking network does point to, however, is that right-wingers form a more febrile, fired-up community, and work over the topics that interest them in a more intensely communal manner. This evidence provides tangetial empirical validation for an article I wrote last year about how the the Republicans have become a more intensely ideological party than the Democrats.

* "We then computed a cosine similarity measure between all pairs of blogs, this time using a TF ¤ IDF metric, where the entry in xA corresponding to phrase p is given by fA,p ¤ log(N/np), where fA,p is the number of times the phrase p occurs in blog A, N = 1, 768, 887 is the number of blogs harvested by Blog-Pulse between Oct.-Nov. 2004 and np is the number of blogs mentioning phrase p in all of the BlogPulse dataset. We modified the cosine similarity metric to take into account only mentions of the same phrase by two blogs made within a day of one another. Overall the differences were too slight to be significant."

1 comment:

Jami said...

i attribute it to our bloggers linking to primary sources (you know, the facts), while theirs link to thrice-told "witty" barbs by michelle malkin. it's not nice to say, but i think it's true. kos links the NYT, not americablog's latest diatribe.