Audience, structure and authority in the weblog community

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


{54th Annual Conference of the International Communications Association}, New Orleans, LA (2004)




The weblog medium, while fundamentally an innovation in personal publishing has also
come to engender a new form of social interaction on the web: a massively distributed
but completely connected conversation covering every imaginable topic of interest. A
byproduct of this ongoing communication is the set of hyperlinks made between weblogs
in the exchange of dialog, a form of social acknowledgement on the part of authors. This
paper seeks to understand the social implications of linking in the community, drawing
from the hyperlink citations collected by the Blogdex project over the past 3 years. Social
network analysis is employed to describe the resulting social structure, and two
measures of authority are explored: popularity, as measured by webloggers’ public
affiliations and influence measured by citation of each others writing. These metrics are
evaluated with respect to each other and with the authority conferred by references in
the popular press.