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How the Left and Right use blogs

A new paper from the Berkman Center:

A Tale of Two Blogospheres: Discursive Practices on the Left and the Right, by Yochai Benkler, Aaron Shaw, and Victoria Stodden

This paper compares the practices of discursive production and participation among top U.S. political blogs on the left, right, and center during the summer of 2008 and, based on qualitative coding of the top 155, finds evidence of an association between ideological affiliation and the technologies, institutions, and practices of participation across political blogs. Sites on the left adopt more participatory technical platforms; are comprised of 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 papers’ sample) more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization as well as discursive production.

The variations observed between the left and right wings of the U.S. political blogosphere provide insights into how varied patterns of technological adoption and use within a single society may produce distinct effects on democracy and the public sphere. The study also suggests that the prevailing techniques of domain-based link analysis used to study the political blogosphere to date may have fundamental limitations.

To read the full abstract and download the paper, visit http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/2010/Tale_Two_Blogospheres_Discursive_Practices_Left_Right

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