I’ve collected in excess of 300 subjects in my list of Perth bloggers, and am up to the letter ‘F’ in plotting them. I’m using Gephi for the visualisation, and despite a rocky start (i.e. me having no idea what I was doing) I’ve now got the hang of it and it’s starting to look pretty damn cool!
Probably the craziest thing is that this list just keeps on growing – I’m probably discovering 20 new blogs a day, at least, but I’m only plotting those that are active bloggers (i.e. have posted within the last year and posted regularly before that, and user another platform – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc – as well as blogging). What that means is that there are potentially hundreds more.
Every dot on this graph represents a blogger, and every line is a link in or out of that blog (you might be able to see the tiny arrows pointing the direction). The dots change size as they attract more inward or outward links. The colours are significant too – the pink ones are fashion bloggers, the purple are food bloggers, pale blue are lifestyle bloggers, etc. This is going to change so there’s not too much point going in to it here; it’s just an easy way for me to keep track of what’s going on.
There are labels, too, so I know which dot represents which blogger, but I’ve kept them hidden to protect the identities of the geeky ;)
Including this data in my thesis in visual form is a bit of a gimmick – I could just provide a bunch of stats and numbers – but I feel that it’s really helpful to be able to see what networks look like. Not all blogs are equal, and not all share equal involvement in the blogging community. Of course, this data simply represents the network at this stage; it says nothing about the quality of content (not that I really get to be the judge of this!), how popular the blogs are (a blog may have few inward links but be read by a significant number of people, and certain genres are more generally popular than others), but it’s a good start. I’ll be doing the same thing with some other networks too, particularly Twitter, as Twitter has stolen a lot of blogging’s thunder in recent years.
Tim Highfield from Curtin has been a massive help with pointing me in the right direction on this one. Check out some of the stuff he’s done with visualisations – his look way cooler than mine.