The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Barzilai-Nahon, Helmsley, Walker, Hussain: Fifteen Minutes of Fame: The Place of Blogs in the Life Cycle of Viral Political Information

This paper has been published as: Karine Nahon, Jeff Hemsley, Shawn Walker, and Muzammil Hussain (2011) Fifteen Minutes of Fame: The Power of Blogs in the Lifecycle of Viral Political Information. Policy and Internet 3 (1).

Paper presenter: 
Walker, S., University of Washington

This study addresses dynamics of viral information in the blogosphere, and is interested in empirically understanding how blogs play a role in the virality process. More specifically, we develop a new methodology that creates a map of the ‘life cycle’ of blogs posting links to viral information. Our dataset focuses on the linking practices of blogs to the most significant viral videos of the 2008 US presidential election. To do so, we gathered data on all blogs (n=9,765) and their posts (n=13,173) linking to 65 of the top US presidential election videos that became viral on the Internet during the period between March 2007 and June 2009.

Among other things, our findings illuminate the importance of different types of blogs: elite, top-political, top-general and tail blogs. We also found that while elite and top-general blogs create political information, they drive and sustain the viral process, whereas top-political and tail blogs act as followers in the process.

Karine Barzilai-Nahon, Jeff Hemsley, Shawn Walker, Muzammil Hussain