Axel Bruns maps the Australian blogosphere

A close up of the Australian blogopshere map generated by Axel Bruns.

Axel Bruns has extracted some 2.6 million hyperlinks and come up with some very pretty data mapping the Australian blogosphere for the first time:

what we’re already seeing in the network is a relatively large cluster of sites on the left of the graph, made up of sites (MSM as well as blogs) that deal predominantly with news and politics. In addition to domestic and international news sites, various Australian political blogs (such as Larvatus ProdeoClub TroppoJohn QuigginPeter MartinCatallaxy Files, and the suite of Crikey blogs) appear as prominent nodes in the network (on both the indegree and eigenvector centrality counts). Many smaller – that is, less prominent – blogs cluster around them, but receive comparatively fewer inlinks. There’s even likely to be some further subdivision within this overall cluster, but I wouldn’t want to speculate too much on this point until we’ve had a chance to further clean our data.

You can see the full post here and download the full-size, gorgeous mapping images here.

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Stephen Burt in the LRB on Facebook, MySpace and the era of social networking

This long and rewarding essay is currently up at the London Review of Books. Burt notes:

Facebook is big, and it seems to be everywhere. Founded in early 2004, restricted first to Harvard, then to students at American universities, and now open to anyone, the site claims 500 million users, having passed MySpace to become the largest social networking site in the world. Social networks – Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Bebo (big in the UK) and QQ (big in China) – let users build a page about themselves, containing everything from romantic status (‘married’, ‘single’, ‘it’s complicated’) to video clips; each user’s page is linked to the pages of ‘friends’. Social networks aren’t the entire internet (no more than porn, or Google), though (like porn, like Google) they are a big slice: 80 per cent of Britons with internet connections use them. And (like porn, like Google) they are a synecdoche for the internet generally: social networking sites put us in touch with strangers who share our odd interests; reduce the effects of geographic distance; promote bitesize units of image and text; spread up to the minute news; suck away hours; and change how we see ourselves as social beings.full review is here

The full essay is here.

YouTube turns 5

Above: The Evolution of Dance, YouTube’s third-top all-time video and certainly one of my favourites.

It’s hard to believe, but the paradigmatic web video  site has now turned 5. The New York Times has an interview with Chad Hurley, while there  some other good links here, here and here.

YouTube serves 2 billion page views, but does it make a profit? Google doesn’t break down the figures in its accounts, but analysts still think the site may not yet be making money. Perhaps soon.

Charles Peterson on Facebook

In the New York Review of Books, Charles Peterson uses a review of two books about social networking – Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires and Julia Angwin’s Stealing MySpace – as the jumping off point for a long meditation on the origins, nature and character of the social networking spaces we inhabit.

In doing so, Peterson makes some extremely insightful points, particularly about Facebook:

Facebook was successful early on because it didn’t depart significantly from how its audience interacted, and because it started at the top of the social hierarchy. Zuckerberg distinguished his site through one innovation: Facebook, initially at least, would be limited to Harvard. The site thus extended one of the primary conceits of education at an elite university: that everyone on campus is, if not a friend, then a potential friend, one already vetted by the authorities. Most previous social networks, such as MySpace and Friendster, had been dogged by the sense that, while one might use them with friends, they were to a substantial degree designed for meeting strangers. But nobody is a stranger in college, or at least that’s the assumption at a school like Harvard, so nobody would be a stranger on Facebook.

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