A new paper by Aaron Shaw and Yochai Benkler looks at the differences between left- and right-wing political blogs during the summer of 2008. From the abstract:
An examination of the top 155 political blogs reveals significant cross-ideological variations along several dimensions. Notably, the authors find evidence of an association between ideological affiliation and the technologies, institutions, and practices of participation. Blogs on the left adopt different, and more participatory, technical platforms, comprise significantly fewer sole-authored sites, include user blogs, maintain more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary content, include longer narrative and discussion posts, and (among the top half of the blogs in the sample) more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization. The findings suggest that the attenuation of the news producer-consumer dichotomy is more pronounced on the left wing of the political blogosphere than on the right. The practices of the left are more consistent with the prediction that the networked public sphere offers new pathways for discursive participation by a wider array of individuals, whereas the practices of the right suggest that a small group of elites may retain more exclusive agenda-setting authority online.
It’s worth noting that this research predates the Tea Party movement; it will be interesting to see if their findings on blogs as “platforms for mobilization” still hold true.
(HT: Marginal Revolution)