For everyone attending (in the flesh or via Twitter and other means) the PDF Europe, here’s linkfluence’s presentation about the European political web, its structure and dynamics, and the level of interest of different national political communities for the designation of the first President of the European Council. More explanations and details coming today as an update to this post…
UPDATE & DETAILS (21/11/09)
Let’s get to the bottom of things, shall we.
First, what exactly is included in the map of the Eurosphere. Inside each of the spheres included in this preliminary piece of research (which rests on the analysis of 4 European countries, namely France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and a specific European-affairs sphere), there are communities of political bloggers and portals (i.e. communities whose members are affiliated to a given party or clearly advocating a political platform, represented in shades of blue), communities of journalists and experts (shades of green), communities of political pundits commenting on public issues without a clear or distinctive party line (under the label “opinion”, shades of red), media websites (shades of orange), trade unions (shades of purple), think tanks (light blue), institutions (websites of public bodies or international organisations, brown), NGOs and activists (grey).
Second, how do we explore and segment the social web and build maps of online communities in general, and of the political Eurosphere in particular. According to theories and concepts drawn from sociology and the social graph field (see this research paper we published at ESOMAR for a lot more details), we use proprietary web crawlers and algorithms to reveal clusters of websites (blogs, social networks, forums, etc.) that flock together and form true communities whose members listen to and influence one another, mainly around their shared topics of interest (politics in a broad sense for the Eurosphere). The distance between websites (in a given community) and between communities (on a given map like the Eurosphere) simply reveal the density of their interactions. The closer they are, the more they engage each other (or engage the same websites around them, meaning that two websites or two communities may not engage each other but may interact with pretty much the same websites around them), the further away they are, the less they engage each other in conversations. We base ourselves on these concepts to draw conclusions as to the dynamics of the social web and the Eurosphere in particular.
Finally, we also conduct opinion research by way of monitoring all the public conversations happening inside the communities we have mapped. This is how we are able to measure quantitatively and analyse qualitatively different items of perception, interest or judgement.
All the findings of our preliminary piece of research (which will be updated in the coming months) can be found in the PDF file below. Here’s a summary: