Search Results

Paper: Where do bloggers blog? Platform transitions within the historical Dutch blogosphere

My first co-authored article, with colleague Esther Weltevrede, has been published in First Monday, Volume 17, Number 2 – 6 February 2012.

Where do bloggers blog? Platform transitions within the historical Dutch blogosphere


The blogosphere has played an instrumental role in the transition and the evolution of linking technologies and practices. This research traces and maps historical changes in the Dutch blogosphere and the interconnections between blogs, which — traditionally considered — turn a set of blogs into a blogosphere. This paper will discuss the definition of the blogosphere by asking who the actors are which make up the blogosphere through its interconnections. This research aims to repurpose the Wayback Machine so as to trace and map transitions in linking technologies and practices in the blogosphere over time by means of digital methods and custom software. We are then able to create yearly network visualizations of the historical Dutch blogosphere (1999–2009). This approach allows us to study the emergence and decline of blog platforms and social media platforms within the blogosphere and it also allows us to investigate local blog cultures.

The Dutch blogosphere in transition

For the full text, see First Monday or explore the data on our project page.

Visualizing data with Gephi: Abstract interpretations of the Dutch blogosphere #madewithgephi

Abstract interpretation of the Dutch blogosphere 2001 #1

Abstract interpretation of the Dutch blogosphere 2001 #1

I am currently working on analyzing the Dutch blogosphere with my colleague Esther Weltevrede with help of colleague Erik Borra from the Digital Methods Initiative. In an early exploratory phase Esther and I started to learn how to use Gephi to visualize our data and networks. In one of my early attempts I created this beautifully abstract interpretation of the Dutch blogosphere. Gephi creates design by research!

Abstract interpretation of the Dutch blogosphere 2001 #2

Abstract interpretation of the Dutch blogosphere 2001 #2

Actual findings and paper will follow in a few weeks!

Snapshot of the Dutch Blogosphere December 2010

This map provides an insight into the linking practices of a part of the Dutch blogosphere. Download full map as PDF.

Starting points provided by Bert Brussen’s blogpost (including comments) calling for “weblogs that matter anno 2010.”

This is not the “whole” Dutch blogosphere, it maps the interlinking practices of the blogs of the startinglist. The tool keeps blogs on the map that receive at least two inlinks from other blogs in the network. On top of that, if we consider the blogosphere as the interlinking of all blogs, the Dutch blogosphere contains a wide array of foreign websites and social media platforms such as The Huffington Post, Wikileaks, Flickr, Boston, Facebook etc. Twitter is the biggest node in the Dutch blogosphere.

More info on Mapping the Dutch blogosphere project by Esther Weltevrede and me on this blog.

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

Mapping the Dutch Blogosphere #Bloghelden

Boekpresentatie Bloghelden

Photo: 2010 Jöran Maaswinkel (@JeeeM) Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0

On Tuesday we celebrated the book launch of Frank Meeuwsen’s Bloghelden, a history of the Dutch blogosphere from 1995 to 2005, at SETUP in Utrecht. I was asked to give a presentation on a project Esther Weltevrede and I are working on: Mapping the Dutch blogosphere over time.

Photo by danischouten

In his article ‘Links, Lives, Logs: Presentation in the Dutch Blogosphere’ from 2003 author Frank Schaap distinguishes two types of bloggers in the Dutch blogosphere: the lifeloggers and the linkloggers.1 These two types of blogs, the lifelogs and the linklogs, have very specific and different linking patterns. Anno 2010 we can distinguish a new type of blog: the platformlog.

The aim of this study is to map changing blogging practices within the Dutch blogosphere. This may be done by looking at changing linking practices and studying the linking structure of the Dutch blogosphere.


  • Create a startlist of URLs. In this casestudy we compiled a list from experts: Arie Altena, Gert-Jan Lasterie, Frank Meeuwsen’s Bloghelden book, Merel Roze’s article on the Dutch Blogosphere in Schrijven Voor Het Web, and Frank Schaap’s article. In the future this list will be supplemented with the Webloglijst (an early semi-manual Technorati) and Nedstat top 1000 weblogs’ statistics.
  • Create hyperlink networks over time with the Issuecrawler.

Preliminary findings

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Hyves and other social media platforms appear as important actors within the network. In this sample of May 2010 Twitter is the dominant platform in the Dutch blogosphere receiving 34484 links from the crawled population. In 2010 social media platforms receive the most links from the crawled population indicating their prominence on the web and in the blogosphere. Claim: We have moved from a bloggers A-list to a platform A-list consisting of a top three of: Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The linking structure of the Dutch blogosphere anno 2010 is characterized by social media platforms.


Click on the maps to download a hi-res PDF file (around 800K).

Social media platforms in the Dutch blogosphere

Dutch Blogosphere on 18 May 2010

Further research

  • Look up URLs in the Internet Archive and create a special collection by archiving them. Visualize hyperlink networks over time with Gephi.
  • How do linking practices change and which clusters emerge? When do the social media platforms arrive?
  • Diagnosing the current condition of the early Dutch blogosphere.

Slides in English & Dutch

  1. Frank Schaap, ‘Links, Lives, Logs: Presentation in the Dutch Blogosphere’, Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs <> [[]

The widgetized self and the modding user in the blogosphere

Last week I gave a talk on ‘The Widgetized Self. Distributed identity and the role of software-engine relations in blogging.’ Blogs may be seen as databases that allow for various types of identity construction. The use of themes, plugins and widgets play an important role in the blogging identity.

Edial Dekker, New Media student at the University of Amsterdam, wrote about my lecture for the Dutch communication blog Spotlighteffect. His blogpost (in Dutch) has the provoking title: “The role of widgets. Nerds are more personal” which refers to the fact that expressing your identity through technology such as blog software still requires knowledge of the code. If you want to change the defaults you need to be able to install plugins or manually adjust php or CSS. In blogging we can distinguish several types of identity formation that coexist together and contribute to each other:

  • the default identity (with default themes and templates)
  • the drag and drop identity (choosing your plugins and widgets)
  • the distributed identity (using the blog as a centralized force to collect your distributed self)
  • the database identity (those who actually use their blog as a database of the self)

The blog is a database that supplies different ways for identity construction. On top of that other databases are used to further mold and shape the identity of the blogger. The modding user is constantly tweaking and adjusting the blog, either at the front side or the back side, in order to construct a self online.

Pages: 1 2 3 Next