« Senators' Optimal Experiences | Main | Joining Up With Josh Marshall's TPMCafe »

My Insularity

Eszter Hargatti at Crooked Timber has a post about her study on "Cross-Ideological Conversations Among Bloggers." She is trying to test Cass Sunstein's theory, in Republic.com, that internet politics forms isolated communities of shared ideology, rather than broad conversations among people with different viewpoints.

It's a fascinating study, and she shows that there is a high-degree of cross-ideological conversation among the 41 political blogs she studies, although much of it involves invoking the other side for purposes of "straw-man" arguments.

Of course, being a Washingtonian, I have to now believe that the most important part of any book is the index, especially the part that begins with the first letter of my own last name, so I checked to see whether the Decembrist was included, not expecting it to be.* So I was pleasantly surprised to see that I'd made the cut. (I've always had a natural, reciprocated affinity for the Crooked Timber gang.)

But take a closer look at one of her main charts. This is a way of depicting all the links across political blogs during a week in March, conservative blogs in red, liberal blogs in blue. Those closer to the center have more links -- "conversations" -- across ideology.

OK, see that red guy over at the far left? Matching up the numbers to her chart, that's Blogs for Bush (who now, courtesy of me, have at least one link from a liberal site.) On a quick read, the closest thing to a cross-ideological conversation there is between the people who want to boil George Voinovich in oil, and those who think the boil-in-oilers are wimps who don't understand that we're in a war against the Islamo-fascists and their allies in the Nevada Democratic Party.

Now see that lonely little blue guy on the upper right? That's me. Apparently as insular on the left as "Blogs for Bush" is on the right?

I hope not. I'm guessing this was just one of those weeks, where I didn't post much or if I did, it didn't happen to have many links to other blogs. In the chart, I see only inbound links.

It's still an interesting study, and outliers are just that, outliers. I'll try better not to be one!

*In New York, the most important part of a book is the acknowledgments.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on May 27, 2005 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference My Insularity:

» Sphere Study From Crooked Timber from BOPnews
Text here. Graphic here. Decembrist here. Note how Slate's blog beat guy shows of how slanted he is. Right wing ideolog Daniel Drezner is quoted as a neutral expert, while Decembrist is an "outlier". Given that Drezner's blog is very... [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2005 7:27:18 AM

» The Decembrist: My Insularity from Good Samaritan #1
Link: The Decembrist: My Insularity. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 20, 2005 6:02:31 PM

» Most popular words 2006: from Reader's Favorites at Scientific American
The articles includes Editor's Favorites, top e-mailed stories, and most popular articles. ... Babies Can Learn Words as Early as 10 Months ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 13, 2006 9:56:38 AM

» Finding Information on the Internet from Net Search
The University of California Berkeley recommends search strategies, explains search tools, and gives guidance on evaluating and citing web pages... [Read More]

Tracked on May 3, 2006 7:01:44 AM

» Find search engines across the world with Search Engine from World Search
Gain quick, efficient access to search engines from countries around the world with Search Engine Colossus - International Directory of Search Engines. [Read More]

Tracked on May 8, 2006 12:14:48 AM

» TweakIDE temporarily hosted on our server from located on your
there, a new version will be available on Sunday (10. July 2005). TweakIDE is an open-source application to tweak Windows 2000 and XP's [Read More]

Tracked on May 14, 2006 8:24:21 PM

» University Search from Worldnet Service
Searching the University web servers, the Internet, for telephone numbers and ... Use this page to search for people (by surname) or for institutions within ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2006 7:51:43 PM

» Каталог Google - World > Russian from Каталог интернет-ресурсов
Справка по Каталог Искать в Блоги Поиск в Интернете ... Russian > Компьютеры > Интернет > В сети > Блоги, На главную страницу Каталога: [русский] [English] ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 20, 2006 12:50:16 PM

» The Riverside Group Completes Installation of EFI Logic from EFIs Logic
bindery among first to install EFIs Logic plant management system. (PRWEB May 15, 2006) [Read More]

Tracked on May 22, 2006 5:31:01 PM

» Dictionary Search Page from Dictionary Search
An unabridged dictionary from aalii to zymurgy, including a pronunciation guide... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 4:50:50 PM

» Die Schweizer Suchmaschine from dir.pogovorim.com
Suchmaschine fr die Schweiz mit regionaler Volltextsuche (im domain und in weiteren Sites mit... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 2:09:28 AM

» Cambridge Dictionaries Online: luxury yacht charters from online dictonary
Free online dictionary from Cambridge University Press [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 3:26:53 AM

» The Gangs of New Orleans from had a murder
Katrina, New Orleans had a murder rate 10 times worse than the U.S. average. The killers evacuated too. Tracing the criminal [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2006 5:25:10 PM

» News Online from JapanHorse
Features weekly articles, archives to past issues, and timelines of scientific importance. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 4, 2006 2:17:24 PM

» India's Affirmative Action War from quota policy.
government educational quota policy. But is merit all that counts in such a rigidly divided country? [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 4:08:49 PM

» Shareholders bow to Exxon's wishes from largest oil company
on the world's largest oil company to change polices on gay rights, climate change and executive pay. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 6:45:46 AM

» thc marijuana cannabis dip strip drug urine test from Detox process
The good news is that the detox process may enhance your body's ability to metabolize the medication and you may soon require less. But in the meantime, ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2006 6:32:13 PM

» FAA Imposes Pact On Air Controllers from own contract
down. The House is considering a proposal aimed at prodding the two sides back to the bargaining table. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 10, 2006 9:56:08 AM

» Babar, elephant hero of children's books, turns 75 from crown and green
his trademark crown and green suit unmarked by changing fashions or criticism that his jungle realm is a relic of colonialism. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 30, 2006 6:10:41 PM

» RB Toolbar from rbtoolbar
RB Toolbar - уникальный и наиболее перспективный и продуманный проект... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2006 11:43:56 AM

» Manuel Ochoa, Founder of MiamiSymphony Orchestra, Dies at 80 from director of the
conductor Manuel Ochoa, founder and music director of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 11:53:24 AM

» Rob Zombie To Crash At Your Place For Couple Of Days from iles/radionews/06-091-Rob-Zombie_Th.mp3
iles/radionews/06-091-Rob-Zombie_Th.mp3 read more [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 7:19:04 PM

» asbestos claim from Medicine Words
Medicine Dictionaries and Word References Emergency Medical Technology ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 25, 2006 2:18:49 PM

» ALL Themes from Invision Power Board
He has set up a test blog so you can check it out - it’s great work. ... Note to all theme authors: In order to be considered for the competition, ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 26, 2006 5:10:00 AM

» site map: diamond stud earrings from myjewelrystore
Select your jewelry...14K White Gold .43ct Diamond & Sapphire Ring G-H SI3 [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2006 11:57:30 AM

» People Search in Internet 2006 from Plot Summary for Words
Words - Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussion, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Photos, Showtimes, Link to Official Site, Fan Sites. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 2, 2006 1:18:11 AM

» burberry from Burberry Perfume
Buy Burberry perfumes and aftershaves from the best UK shops online. Click on one of the products listed below to compare prices to find the best price to ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2006 1:12:48 AM

» Paddy Power Betting in Running on World Series of Poker Final Table from on the final
table of nine players in WSOP. (PRWEB Aug 8, 2006) [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 4:02:28 AM

» Team USA: Bulls West? from Paxson probably
was smiling. 'You win the game of basketball not necessarily by how you're going [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 11:59:30 AM

» Search Results Page - a from ondmd
Your search results page is packed with information. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 10, 2006 7:22:44 PM

» Search Results Page - d from much.kiev.ua
Your search results... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 16, 2006 2:11:56 AM


Right leaning blogs were terrified of the ironclad logic!

Posted by: theCoach | May 27, 2005 11:34:46 AM

I don't know. Although The Decembrist is generally quite liberal, attracting mostly liberals (I presume), and although there might not be as much interlinking with non-liberal blogs, it seems to me that there have been some excellent conversations here lately. And I don't mean conversations among like-minded ideologues who, like Siths, see the world in absolutes. For that reason, I'm not sure that cross-blog linking is necessarily the best measure to determine any given blog's insularity. What may matter just as much is the content of intra-blog conversations. You may be right about Blogs for Bush (no link from me), which I don't much care for, but you at least (if I may heap some praise -- in part because I like your blog and contribute comments from time to time) have attempted to think about the meaning of liberalism and to engage conservatism as a set of ideas to be taken seriously -- you don't just spew the latest talking points (this is not meant as an insult to TPM!). Plus, the comments sections of your posts reflect, I think, an interest among your readers in thinking about ideas. That, from what I can see, is rare in the blogosphere, at least in terms of the typical left-right slandering.

Posted by: Michael J.W. Stickings | May 27, 2005 12:23:43 PM

It seems to me the lesson is that if you want more links, you'll have to engage in more straw-man argumentation or otherwise be less moderate. Rhetorical opposites attract and so does your own rhetorical reflection, but everything else is random and uninteresting.

Posted by: murky | May 27, 2005 12:37:35 PM

I'm not that surprised, Mark. Most of what you've been doing recently is critiquing other liberal arguments. RedState.org is not in their list. Nor is "investing in conservative ideas". Plus you also spend a larger portion of your time linking to things other than other blogs than most.

Posted by: Electoral Math | May 27, 2005 12:43:24 PM

Exactly. I know the blogosphere is all about this great virtual community where bloggers link to other bloggers and thereby circumvent the MSM. But there's something awfully tiring about that, a lot of going around in circles. I know with my own blog (which I don't mean to compare to this one), I'd often much rather link to interesting sites around the web than to other blogs (which themselves are usually linking to other blogs... ad infinitum). If you're going to link to blogs, at least link to those that are particularly interesting or that have something worthwhile to say, no matter its ideological orientation.

Posted by: Michael J.W. Stickings | May 27, 2005 2:46:14 PM

Thanks for highlighting that article. I wouldn't have found it otherwise. I find the research fascinating.

As a new blogger (the Maryland Policy blog if you don't mind a little shameless self promotion) with a blog that discusses policy issues I have spent way too much time recently reading other blogs. And, while I confess to having excessive "site meter" envy, I am left feeling as though many of the blogs--even some of my favorites--are doing little to move the conversation forward.

On the positive side, there is a lot of great information and people are motivated to pay attention to what is going on. On the not so great side, I sense that much of the conversation only adds to the polarization.

We have problems talking about the choices that people make without calling them names or referring to them in disparaging ways. Ultimately, there has to be a place where we can have meaningful conversation about the issues and build on the places where we share concerns. Don't we?

Having said that, I don't think that I'd put the Decembrist in the far upper right corner--at least not as an indication of the extremism of the conversation here.

Posted by: Steve Hill | May 27, 2005 4:15:41 PM

Well, Blogs for Bush....eh. No surprise there.

As for your linkage, I think it's probably reflective of your wonkish nature rather than your partisanship. (I speak with a full four days of readership to my credit.) No worries there.

Posted by: Trevino / Tacitus | May 28, 2005 10:34:24 AM

I would echo the comment on linking to other like minded blogs as not being the best way to measure how insulated or open-minded a blog is. I read this, TPM, Kos, Political Aniamal and others, all liberal. I do wander over to RedState to get a different leaning. However, you could link to many a Red blog simply to say, "Look at what a bunch of idiots the right wingers are." The link doesn't necessarially mean support. I agree that I rarely read other blogs linked from a blog, but I do read linked articles.

Posted by: Brad Barrett | May 28, 2005 3:25:40 PM

Hee-hee... the "little red... on the far left" is Blogs for Bush. Ah, mixed metaphors.

Posted by: Dave Herman | May 29, 2005 4:12:14 PM


Not schooled in the blogosphere and its ultimate
functionality for our (or any) society, I wondered after reading the Crooked Timber blurb, etc., whether it would be advisable to place a domain I dreamed up several years ago, viz., www.linkbetween.com, up for sale using blog
sources to do so (indeed, linkbetween.com might be a good example of a connective blog). Please advise. Many thanks.


Posted by: Russell Travis | May 29, 2005 4:28:45 PM

Stick to your guns. Were I you, I'd not let myself be unduly swayed by this study.

Posted by: Samuel Long | May 31, 2005 2:19:05 PM

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I have updated the image because I realized it was not displaying exactly what I had described it as in the original blog post. The overall message is similar, but I thought it was important to let you know since you had linked to it directly (that's a good thing as this way it is updated here as well), but I'm afraid your comment about "that red guy over at the far left" is no longer relevant to the graph (partly because I switched their positions to reflect the layout of the other graph). Blogs for Bush is #3 on the graph, which as you can see in this updated image is only getting a link from another red dot (conservative blog). You as #27 are linked to by blue dots only and don't seem to be linking to anyone at all if I am reading the direction of the arrows correctly. This graph is of posts in a week in March (March 13-19th to be exact). I'm sorry this update may cause confusion here.

Posted by: Eszter Hargittai | Jun 4, 2005 9:50:33 AM

not too late for a compliment, excellent articles!

Posted by: brian | Nov 29, 2005 1:23:25 AM

No surprise

Posted by: john | Dec 8, 2005 10:28:10 PM