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  1. Panel 3
    1. JJ Merelo - "Blogsphere community formation, structure and visualisation"
    2. Brigitte Roemmer-Nossek: Enhancing Blogs with a dual interaction design
    3. Mikel Maron: Weblogs and location: beyond the limits of physical and virtual space
    5. Links to write-ups for this panel

Panel 3

JJ Merelo - "Blogsphere community formation, structure and visualisation"

The whole talk can be downloaded, in OpenOffice format from here -- JJ
Alas even the most recent OpenOffice does not translate this to Microsoft Powerpoint properly and the PDF version it creates is not great but you might find it useful - it is [WWW]here.
You can download the latest OpenOffice (1.1) [WWW]here - [WWW]David Brake

People often blog in order to form a community - this is an important aspect (belonging).

This includes:

- readers - authors - commenters - other authors (blogrolls, etc)

This is an essential part of the blogosphere, but how do we find these communities?

This helps understand trends as well.

Agenda-setting effect of weblogs: topics are shared.

Links and items can be shared more easily within than between communities - hence importance of bridges between communities. Value of your social network? (all have value - that is why so many artificial ones e.g. orkut)

"Betweenness": how much is somebody in the middle, or central to the action (cites Cocu in Dutch football team).

"Cliques" groups or nodes that link more heavily between themselves than with others.

"Factions": defined by similar link patterns (distinction between clique and faction escapes me)

newman-girvan communities : separated by links of high centrality

How to visualise? (our brain knows best) (refers to T-shirt with map of spanish blogosphere ;-))

Shameless plug: they can be bought at the CafePress shop: Some tools: - Pajek - Netdraw - Visone - Inflow (Valdis Krebs tool)

These provide a good overall picture, but very general

It involves projecting it in 2D

We can also use multidimendional tools: - MDS - Sammon map - Kohonen's map (self organising map)

Kohonen's self-organising map is a set of n-dimensional vectors in a 2D array - it's a mathematical map with an input of one item and an output of linked items from the array.

Example: sites hosted by Blogalia in Spain:

- 162 weblogs which link - 11k stories published (up to sept 2003) - 17k links - 4k external links

Pajek plots input scores

SOM can perform a link array analysis by row (out) and by column (incoming)

UMatrix analysis shows how the set is clustered and uses colour codes (actually grey shades) to show clusters of links

Plot of relative outgoing link strength ( probably how often/frequently they link to each other?) for those blogs

Shows clusters like galician blogs linking heavily to each other, perhaps because of shared dialect.

Does the shoe fit?

They have taken snapshots for the same community at 4-month intervals and they have trained the SOM with vectors taken from each time interval.

<shows map> that demonstrates how the main cluster starts in the middle and then spreads to the corners and edges

What now?

Will it scale upwards? Are communities defined by 1-2 blogurus? (commuinities defined by common links to 1-2 key blogs) what kind of aggregation method do they follow does preferential attachment hold?

What can we expect in the future? we have a map, we have a path that some blogs are following, so we can project it into the future with some degree of predictability.

Barabasi's preferential attachment theory does not appear to apply in Spanish Blogospher

>>> I don't think it applies to _any_ blogosphere, actually -- JJ

Brigitte Roemmer-Nossek: Enhancing Blogs with a dual interaction design


Why blogs?

- simple and can be used in many ways

Key features: - simplicity, collaborative nature and they form networks

communication + documentation

we enhance with a GUI - blog on left, GUI on right to enhance navigation and add links to other info

AMS example:

they wanted to foster virtual communications among trainees who go through 1 year training - live in-classroom training + on the job training. One trainee per office, but no contact between coaches + coaches do not get a reduction in their other workload. Also, people sick of learning new software tools.


Blog on right, topics and record counts on the left with search.

AMS results:

4 week period of analysis 17 trainees, 7 coaches

>1000 logins 1041 visits 292 posts (180 in topic context) 23% used smilies

Postings were mainly by trainees only 7/17 coaches registered - coaches basically rejected it trainees accepted it - some read only, some regularly posting 3 users developed very active community tech problems at the client end in the AMS offices

(Sounds like mixed picture...)

Example 2: tourism project in Ethiopia?


AMS: accepted by users Projects - strong coupling of comms and documentation

dual interaction design provides filter and overview of blogs within a closed system, plus helps structure content and basic personalisation

Future? create knowledgebase out of flow of communications

Knowledge map?

Mikel Maron: Weblogs and location: beyond the limits of physical and virtual space

Networks are all about non-local comms It doesn't matter where you are!

Early uses: e.g. somebody who hooked up a voice synth to let people on the net speak to his (poor little) cat !?!

Quotes JP Barlow's declaration of independence of cyberspace - "everywhere and nowhere" etc

The flip side of this utopian vision is the dystopia of silicon valley, which is like a network etched onto a landscape, disconnected office buildings, a world powerd by gas stations and fast food. No surprise that this is where VR ideas developed.

Tech dev ideas:

GPS GeoURL ( -> We are down for renovations. Check back soon!) >> for quite a long time now << WiFi etc.

Good simple idea that let people mark up web pages with GEO info.

This stuff enables developments liks:

- Headmap: "in a strange town you knock on a door and somebody gives you sandwiches" - TXT msging for coordinating anti-war demos - The topen guide to London/Vienna etc - Localfeeds - RFID environmental monitoring and sensors

REF: Geowanking List:

also interested in smart dust, sensor technology

Geoscope , << note: spohrer's world board is related? ---Ref:>>

The world as a blog:

Using and GeoURL + RSS autodiscovery, Mikel put together a Flash GUI app that recombines this stuff to plot weblog posts on a world map as they pop up.

This prompted many more people to use GeoURL coordinates so that they appear on the map.

(see Josh Schacter's talk at ETCON this year - link to follow)

Mikel packaged this up as WorldKit

- swf file - geocoded RSS - base map - config.xml

USGS looking at it for real time earthquake alerts.

Woody (kayaker) using it for kayak map that shows where you can find good spots.

Blogging tools can be more than just for blogging:

microcontent publishing - reviews, events, locations, etc

Bottom up semantic web: - RSS namespaces, build it up an app. at a time

Available Plugins for blog tools: - radio userland - MT - Wordpress

Mapping Blogtalk - Mikel put together the blog-based collaborative map for Blogtalk that also uses Zoomify to show maps. People have been annotating it with corrections and helpful info.



Q: is bloggin the sidewalk or the golfclub of cyberspace (ie minority activity, quite elitist)

Torill: Maybe...

Q: what is the role of hospitality in blogging? Hospitality is a win-win game

A: blogging does show hospitality characteristics. That is a good thing.

Q: JJ: have you done textual analysis of blog content to understand how and why links between blogs are created?

A: yes, but this doesn't add much to the analysis so far

Q: Mikel: what about bloggers who don't want to be geo-located?

A: don't use GeoURL! But bear in mind that if moblogging you can in fact geo-code individual RSS items.

Q: Brigitte: if you had money to spend on the training project now, where woudl you spend it?

A: on consulting for the org to address non-technical issues and address sensitivities about openness of info.

Q: About dialogue: conventioanlly, we sign our letters and most of us sign our blogs - can we still have dialogue without this?

A: issues of censorship are tricky to deal with in any medium - always a double edged sword, but we will have to deal with it at some point.

Q: Nossig: anonymity often means people are trolls in open networks, but in comapnies this can be useful for people to feel free to speak - have you considered this for your project?

A: Yes, we have an anon account for this but AMS didn't like it.

Links to write-ups for this panel

Please add your links here if you have written about this panel on your weblog

Lilia Efimova - [WWW]Trip report: blogs and wikis implemented