Tag Archives: political blogs

Freewheeling Hippies vs. Button Down Managers

Some behavioral scientists studied the "top 155 political blogs" during the 2008 election year and compared the liberal and conservative blogs. From their abstract we learn:

Notably, the authors find evidence of an association between ideological affiliation and the technologies, institutions, and practices of participation. Blogs on the left adopt different, and more participatory, technical platforms, comprise significantly fewer sole-authored sites, include user blogs, maintain more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary content, include longer narrative and discussion posts, and (among the top half of the blogs in the sample) more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization…

The practices of the left are more consistent with the prediction that the networked public sphere offers new pathways for discursive participation by a wider array of individuals, whereas the practices of the right suggest that a small group of elites may retain more exclusive agenda-setting authority online. (Emphasis mine)

Gee, I'm just shocked that liberal blogs would be wordier and less centrally controlled than conservative blogs, or that conservatives would maintain a more hierarchical structure. I also like the term "more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary content"; I might use that in the future. As for the liberal blogs using the platform more for mobilization I think it's important that we remember this is a study of 2008's election in which it was pretty clear that Obama's team, and by extension the liberal online universe, cleaned everybody's clock. Since then the opposite side has played a great game of catchup as evidenced by the mid-term election in 2010 and I think this year's going to be much more of a horse race.