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Blogs and Network Structure

February 8th, 2003 · 1 Comment

Ross Mayfield writes about the application of network science to blogs. [via Kevin Werbach]

A Power-law distribution is a concentration of links within a few hubs, a scale-free network. This is in contrast to a random network where each node has the same scale of links, resulting in a bell-curve distribution. Power-law is driven by “preferential attachment.” When a new node enters the network it prefers to link to more connected hubs. Over time, hubs grow faster, with only more random exceptions such as the rise of Google.

But weblogs are distinct from the web and web sites. They are really communication tools that are personal and provide diverse link-modes that make it a social medium. Link-modes include:

– Post links
– Blogroll links
– Comments
– RSS Subscriptions
– Trackback
– FOAF (Friend-of-a-friend)

These link-modes provide a diverse selection of how blog-to-blog relationships can be defined. The etiquitte for forming relationships is in flux, and link-modes provide ways of declaring them. The denser the link-mode declarations, the stronger the social ties.

If blog-to-blog relationships are defined by a dense interconnection of link-modes, Power-law distribution is less dramatic — weblogs are clusters of localized relationships of strong ties that may posses greater power than a global hub-and-spoke network of weak ties.

If we define Blogspace as a social space instead of a collection of pages and links we may see a more democratic distribution of network structure.

This is an area of a lot of interest to us because of our BlogStreet. Current techniques of search and categorisation do not go far enough in letting us see the world of blogs and helping us identify experts. We are hoping that BlogStreet can fill that gap.

Tags: BlogStreet

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