Mapping the Dutch Blogosphere at Mapping Ignite

On July 9th, Esther Weltevrede and I presented our ongoing research on the Dutch Blogosphere at the Mediamatic Mapping Ignite event. Here are the slides and notes from our 5 minute superfast and condensed informational Ignite talk on researching and mapping the Dutch Blogosphere.

Slide 1:
Hi, I’m Anne and this is Esther and we are PhD’s at the University of Amsterdam with the Digital Methods Initiative. We will be showing the first results of a mapping project on the Dutch Blogosphere. It is a work in progress.

Slide 2:
Author on the Dutch blogosphere, Frank Schaap, distinguishes between two types of blogs: linklogs and lifelogs. Linklogs primarily post links to other websites (right), whereas Lifelogs primarily post details about their personal life and everyday experiences (left).

Slide 3:
The current Dutch blogosphere, however, seems to be characterized by the many references to social media platforms. Did the Dutch blogosphere transform from link- and lifelogs into platform-oriented blogs?

Slide 4:
Our aim is to map the changing linking practices of blogs in order to empirically analyze this shift. Following the definition of the blogosphere as the collection of all blogs and their interconnections we aim to map and characterize the Dutch blogosphere. So… which blogs?

Slide 5:
Well, good question! Starting points are very important! This collection of blogs is compiled from several expert sources, namely: lists from Frank Schaap, Merel Roze, Flabber, Frank Meeuwsen and Arie Altena.

Slide 6:
We used the Issue Crawler; a software tool that locates and visualizes networks on the web. It crawls the startingpoints, which means that it follows the hyperlinks from one page to the next, then analyzes and visualizes these connections.

Slide 7:
So what is the Dutch blogosphere? It is what the Dutch blogs link to. This means it also includes non-blogs. Moreover, these apparent strangers in our midst characterize the current Dutch blogosphere.

Slide 8:
First of all, there is a densely linked Dutch blogosphere. This snapshot from June 2010 shows the top 100 prominent blogs and related websites including news sites and social media platforms.

Slide 9:
When we zoom in we can see the links between the nodes and clusters made visible. What you see here is a literary cluster that includes professional writers like Ivo Victoria, Merel Roze, and Walter van den Berg.

Slide 10:
This second cluster is a marketing and technology cluster. It includes Bright, Frankwatching, and Dutch Cowboys. The latter is on the fringe of the networkcluster because, as you can see, it does not link back.

Slide 11:
In this detailed view of map we see the prominence of social media platforms in the Dutch blogosphere, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. These platforms are most prominent within the marketing & technology and news & opinion cluster.

Slide 12:
One of the most central nodes, the micro-blogging platform Twitter is also the largest node in the Dutch blogosphere. When we look at the statistics we see that Twitter almost receives 35 thousand links from the rest of the network.

Slide 13:
Analyzing the links from the current Dutch blogosphere, platforms take a central and prominent position within it. How would one do an analysis on the historical Dutch blogosphere? Was the early 2003 blogosphere indeed organized around lifelogs and linklogs?

Slide 14:
Well, the historical Dutch blogosphere is a work in progress. The first question is: Which starting points to use? We took all the blogs on the Loglijst, a blog indexing site that was started in 2001. The Loglijst scraped and indexed Dutch blogs.

Slide 15:
However, when we checked all the blogs listed in the Loglijst for their response code, or put differently, check to see if they are still online and alive, we notice that many popular blogs from 2003 are no longer online.

Slide 16:
Fortunately, many of the “dead” blogs live on in the Internet Archive which has archived millions of pages from 1996 onward. One can revisit blogs from the past through their WayBackMachine which is the interface to the archive.

Slide 17:
The Internet Archive allows one to search for the history of one specific website or blog and as such privileges single site histories. When entering a URL the output is a list of archived snapshots ordered by date. (asterixes indicate changes to the website)

Slide 18:
This is one of the earliest archived Dutch blogs from 1999. We are automatically going to look up all the blogs from the starting list with one of our tools. Then rip all the links within the blogs and create network visualizations like we have seen before.

Slide 19:
The Dutch blogosphere is an under studied object and we wish to contribute by mapping its history. This proposed study enables us to create collections from the Dutch blogosphere for every year between 1999 and 2009, and compare and analyze these pasts states of the Dutch blogosphere.

Slide 20:
Thank you for your attention, kthnxbai, see you on