9 Nov 2006

Singapore Blogosphere: No Topic Community?

A little article sparked by Elia Diodati which contains a wonderful image from Matthew W. Hurst (Data Mining)of the blogosphere. Now as I attended the www2006 workshop this little Community Without a topic has been at the back of my mind for sometime now not just as a blogger but also someone researching the blogosphere. The only general topic if there is one is "ME" or "Us".

From Discovery of Blog Communities based on Mutual Awareness
Community with no obvious central topic: The community in Figure 14 is one of the communities that we were not able to discover cohesive topics from the top keywords. However, from the metrics of conductance and interest coefficient we can see that members in the community almost exclusively interact with other members in this same community and seldom communicate with non-members.

A closer look at the “No topic” Community (Figure 14): The members of this community are real online friends—most of them are 20-30 year-old youngsters living in Singapore and Malaysia— they are aware of each other and frequently interact with each other but the topics of their talks are not restricted to a specific area. This is a closed community of bloggers from othercountries, which could be a reason for extremely low (0) conductance.
by Yu-Ru Lin, Hari Sundaram, Yun Chi, Jun Tatemura, Belle Tseng.
Arts Media and Engineering Program
Arizona State University
NEC Laboratories America
Cupertino, CA 95014


soci said...

The research was conducted on data gathered in June 2005. I wonder if the data were to be gathered today if the analysis would result in the same conclusion?

Elia Diodati said...

The list of keywords characterising this community are, well, very Singlish.

Here are a few categories I found very intriguing:

Singlish-isms: singapore, bloggers, lah, malaysia, wah, lor, deze, erm, sms, hebben, plaza, hee, mee, abt, cos, hong, nowadays, bloody, coz, heh.

Keywords with obvious references to big names: cowboy, kenny, sia, ff (maybe?), wendy, benjamin

The only serious topic: secondary, learning, overseas, scholarship.

Also of secondary interest are the british spelling ones: realise, realised, programme

And what's up with the Dutch-looking keywords?

Elia Diodati said...

Oh, I missed out 'racist' as a keyword of interest.

Looking more closely at these keywords, there IS a common theme: they all relate either to current affairs in Singapore/Malaysia in the first half of 2005 or so, or to the 'infantile blogosphere'. Given that their analysis algorithm is keyword-driven, I can only conclude that their study isn't sophisticated enough to pick up the common theme, which would be very hard to pick up just from keywords alone. Very few of us consistently tag our posts with 'Singapore' and 'current affairs'...

soci said...

Their research framework is of course going to limit the scope of their research. Someone, who is envolved on a daily basis, like yourself or me can see certain 'keywords' that we would classify as dominant 'themes' for that particular time span of data collection.

I am also interested in the question - "If the Singapore/Malaysian blogosphere lacks a coherent 'topic' why is it that Singaporean themes have managed to dominate the technorati top search list?"

It has, I think got something to do with the timing of data collection. A snap shot of one month is rather selective and will eleminate certain larger trends. The Singapore blogosphere is, I think, not isolated but, because of its frequent top ten appearance on Technorati, able to shift into a core or central role.

Or rather that as a 'community' once we focus on a theme or 'event' it does shift into the higher level global blogosphere, if and only if the 'more well known' bloggers also pick up on it and run with it. If however they ignore the issue, then the affect of the Sg blogs has less of an affect on the wider blogosphere discourse.

What I am saying is that if blogs like mrbrown, cowboy, and xiaxue ignore the topics or themes that dominate the Sg bloggers then it does not cross the bridge into the wider blogosphere.

Is there a definite hierarchy amoungst Singaporean blogger?