Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent
Type of work: Working Paper
Categories:Politics and Political Science | Social Media & Social Software
This study explores the structure and content of the Arabic blogosphere using link analysis, term frequency analysis, and human coding of individual blogs. We identified a base network of approximately 35,000 Arabic-language blogs, mapped the 6000 most-connected blogs, and hand coded over 3000. The study is a baseline assessment of the networked public sphere in the Arabic-speaking world, which mainly clusters nationally. We found the most politically active areas of the network to be clusters of bloggers in Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, and the Levant, as well as an ‘English Bridge’ group. Differences among these indicate variability in how online practices are embedded in local political contexts. Bloggers are focused mainly on domestic political issues; concern for Palestine is the one issue that unites the entire network. Bloggers link preferentially to the top Web 2.0 sites (e.g. YouTube and Wikipedia), followed by pan-Arab mainstream media sources, such as Al Jazeera.