The Russian Blogosphere is Pollock-esque

… or so I just learned from the Berkman Center’s lovely new infographic (left), which accompanies their first report in a series on Russian Internet society: “Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere: Mapping RuNet Politics and Mobilization” (PDF). There’s also a nice post on the Berkman blog explaining the key findings, which include:

  • Russian bloggers prefer platforms that combine features typical of blogs with features of social network services (SNSs).
  • The central Discussion Core that contains the majority of political and public affairs discourse is comprised mainlyof blogs on the LiveJournal platform.
  • The Russian political blogosphere supports more cross-linking debate than others (including the U.S. and Iranian), and appears less subject to the formation of self-referential �echo chambers.’
  • Pro-government bloggers are not especially prominent and do not constitute their own cluster, but are mostly located in a part of the network featuring general discussion of Russian public affairs.
  • The Russian blogosphere is a space that appears to be largely free of government control, although the authors cannot confirm or deny the existence of subtle controls over Internet speech.
  • Many of the most politically attuned bloggers use the platform to serve as a watchdog on elites and the government, with a focus on corruption.

In terms of digital activism research methodology, Berkman’s blogosphere studies represent an excellent mix of qualitative content analysis by coders who carefully read and described blog content, and sophisticated quantitative network algorithms by John Kelly of Morningside Analytics that use link analysis to illustrate complex connections.

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