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Challenges of Tracking Topical Discussion Networks Online

Timothy J. Highfield, Lars Kirchhoff & Thomas Nicolai

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abstract Attempts to map online networks, representing relationships between people and sites, have covered sites including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. However, the predominant approach of static network visualization, treating months of data as a single case rather than depicting changes over time or between topics, remains a flawed process. As different events and themes provoke varying interactions and conversations, it is proposed that case-by-case analysis would aid studies of online social networks by further examining the dynamics of links and information flows. This study uses hyperlink analysis of a population of French political blogs to compare connections between sites from January to August 2009. Themes discussed in this period were identified for subsequent analysis of topic-oriented networks. By comparing static blogrolls with topical citations within posts, this research addresses challenges and methods in mapping online networks, providing new information on temporal aspects of linking behaviors and information flows within these systems.
   
type journal paper
   
keywords
   
project Blog Mapping
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 8-2011
journal Social Science Computer Review
publisher SAGE Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA)
ISSN 0894-4393
ISSN (online) 1552-8286
DOI 10.1177/0894439310382514
volume of journal 29
number of issue 3
page(s) 340-353
review double-blind review
   
citation Highfield, T. J., Kirchhoff, L., & Nicolai, T. (2011). Challenges of Tracking Topical Discussion Networks Online. Social Science Computer Review, 29(3), 340-353, DOI:10.1177/0894439310382514.