HT06, Tagging Paper, Taxonomy

hello my name isToday I’m presenting a paper I coauthored with Mor Naaman, Marc Davis and danah boyd entitled “HT06, Tagging Paper, Taxonomy, Flickr, Academic Article, ToRead.” It’s possibly the least memorable title in ACM history, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. This publication is a position paper, and as such is focused on

In the paper we present two taxonomies of tagging, the first dedicated to design decisions in tagging systems, and the second to the incentives that drive people to tag therein. We also present a short study of Flickr and compare to Golder’s del.icio.us analysis to show how some of our distinctions may affect the behavior of taggers within the system. Here are some of the important distinctions we found among tagging systems.
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Weblogs and authority

This week I’ll be presenting a paper at the International Communication Association Conference in New Orleans titled Audience, Structure and Authority in the Weblog Community. The paper is an analysis of two different metrics for measuring authority within weblogs:

  • Blogroll: A link from one weblog to the top-level of another, (e.g., links to http://overstated.net, http://www.overstated.net or http://overstated.net/index.asp). I assume this is a proxy to popularity.
  • Permalink: Any link from one weblog to deep content on another (e.g. a link to http://overstated.net/04/05/24-weblogs-and-authority.asp). I assume this is a proxy to influence.

The following table shows the top 20 for each measure. One observation is that many of the top ranked sites are community weblogs (e.g. Slashdot or Memepool). These sites play the important role of hubs, maintaining ties to more weblogs than a single person would be able to. They allow information to diffuse quickly between distant parts of the network of readership.

Blogroll Degree Rank Permalink Degree Rank
links url links url
1. 2581 metafilter.com 1322 boingboing.net
2. 2434 slashdot.org 1270 diveintomark.org
3. 2146 boingboing.net 1096 metafilter.com
4. 1825 kottke.org 1073 slashdot.org
5. 1604 instapundit.com 982 kottke.org
6. 1527 scripting.com 976 weblog.siliconvalley.com/column/dangillmor
7. 1307 evhead.com 956 instapundit.com
8. 1220 andrewsullivan.com 828 andrewsullivan.com
9. 1062 memepool.com 827 themorningnews.org
10. 1007 doc.weblogs.com 826 rathergood.com
11. 977 megnut.com 819 textism.com
12. 961 littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog 683 denbeste.nu
13. 899 diveintomark.org 626 doc.weblogs.com
14. 880 littleyellowdifferent.com 625 asmallvictory.net
15. 848 textism.com 582 rightwingnews.com
16. 846 rebeccablood.net 577 microcontentnews.com
17. 758 plasticbag.org 568 joi.ito.com
18. 737 dashes.com/anil 560 buzzmachine.com
19. 719 ftrain.com 553 waxy.org
20. 714 plastic.com 522 a.wholelottanothing.org

A second observation is that the lists are fairly distinct. While some webloggers hold top positions in both ranks, the list diverges considerably as the position increases. While Blogrolls tend to support the weblog elders (scripting.com, evhead.com, etc.), permalinks suggest a different set of authors as influencers (joi.ito.com, buzzmachine.com, etc.). Looking at the differential between the ranks in the figure below, it is apparent that as soon as the rank passes 100, the correlation between Blogroll and Permalink rank becomes less defined.

rank differential
Permalink and Blogroll rank differential

This raises new light to the age-old weblog power law debate. While the blogroll rankings (reflected by Shirky’s original analysis) suggest a model of preferential attachment, many of those weblogs listed in the top permalink ranks are much younger. If the weblog social structure is mitigated by a law of the “rich getting richer,” we would expect older weblogs to have more influence, and hence more links to their entries.

There are obviously many caveats and details, all of which are listed in the full paper below. Since I’m presenting it this coming Friday, I’d appreciate any feedback you may have.

Full paper: Audience, Structure and Authority in the Weblog Community (pdf 228k)

To my peeps…

You can always tell when I’m busy because my posts drop to nothing and my oddments slow to a trickle. Believe you me, I have good reason this time: between grant proposals, generals papers, talk preparations, travel arrangements and relationship issues, I’ve had a scant few minutes for my personal life. I did have time though to comb my hair most days.

About 40% of my work is done, and I’m currently on world tour. I’m going to make a concerted effort to share a bit of my travels along the way, so look out for posts from the following venues:

  • Oxford, London: One talk at the Oxford Internet Institute tomorrow, one at the BBCi on Friday and one at iSociety on Monday. Hopefully I’ll meet a few of my UK in London over the weekend.
  • California: Some much needed R&R plus a trip to the bay area to visit some friends
  • Toronto: The annual AOIR meeting. I’m speaking on a panel titled broadening the blog which covers quite a bit of territory about weblogs.

If you’re going to be at any of these events/areas, please let me know. I’d be ecstatic to run into a few people I didn’t expect to. Of course as soon as I get back to Boston I’ll be travelling as little as possible for a few months. I still haven’t recovered from being so crunk in the ATL.