Thursday, May 29, 2003

Blog stories and local politics
Jill points to an article of how blog stories spread on the web. It's an interesting article, but what arrests my attention is how it looks like a paralell to a piece of research I did with two colleagues here in Volda in 1995. Johann Roppen, Anne Karin Ødegård and I looked at the connection between local media, local public case-work and political decisions in Ørsta: 1995: Torill Mortensen, Johann Roppen, Anne Karin Ødegård: Lokalpolitikk og media. Ein for-studie av media sin betydning for lokalpolitikken, Arbeidsrapport nr 8, Høgskulen i Volda og Møreforsking i Volda (Local Politics and Media: a pilot study for developing research design on the subject of the role of media in local politics.) Johann looked at the local newspapers, Anne Karin looked at the decision-making process and I looked at the links between the papers in preparation of the political presentation of the cases and the newspapers. Among our findings was something I developed: a tree of textual interconnections. I had expected to find a hierarchy, that some sources would be mroe influental of language, topics and focus than others, but what I developed from tracking the links between political papers and newspaper articles was rather a network - yes, very much like how a blogosphere story gets started.

To me this indicates that "the blogosphere" isn't really a place apart, but a loose community defined through communication - which is after all the ultimate definition of a geographical community as well. The greek city-states were limited by how far a man could walk in a day in order to be part of the decision making process. As there were more efficient means of communication, communities expanded. Today, with the world wide web, communities are no longer limited by physical distances, but they are still defined through communication: the topics which are "close to our hearts" create the feeling of belonging, and networks develop and expand like the "stories" the article mentions.

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