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    Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader Survey Details and Research Reports


    Report: Bloggers and the Blogosphere: Motivation, Perception, and Mobilization


    Dr. Dhavan Shah (dshah@wisc.edu)
    Dr. David D. Perlmutter (ddp@ku.edu)

    Collected survey data in Dec. 2006 from:
                (a) cross-section of the top political bloggers
                (b) thousands of blog visitors to these websites

    66 bloggers from 58 blogs participated
                Sampled from top 150 political blogs

    3,909 readers from 40 blogs responded to reader survey.
                73.8% Male, 26.2% Female
                43.1% Dem., 30.7% Rep., 14.2% Libertarian, 1.7% Green
                Mean age = 46; Median income & edu. = $60-80K & some grad school
                Mean time spent reading blogs = 3.7 years; 2.1 hours/day

    Study One:

    “From Expression to Influence: Understanding the Change in Blogger Motivations over the Blogspan,” Brian Ekdale, Kang Namkoong, Timothy Fung, Muzammil Hussain, Madhu Arora, and David D. Perlmutter (last author from University of Kansas; all others from University of Wisconsin-Madison).

    Recent studies on political blogs have focused on blog content and blog readers, but little research has been done on prominent political bloggers themselves. This study fills this research gap by providing an exploratory examination into the motivations of some of the most popular and influential American political bloggers. Our findings demonstrate that this set of bloggers has experienced an evolution in motivations over the course of their blogspan – the period during which the blog has been in existence. These motivations, which include the desire to “let off steam,” “earn money,” “influence opinion,” and “help society” almost all increase over time – signifying that blogging has an empowering effect.  Notably, the motives related to extending political influence demonstrate the greatest increases.  We argue that this change signifies a transition among blog authors from regarding web logs as an internal, expressive form of communication to seeing them as an external, persuasive mode of political advocacy and citizen journalism.


    Study Two:

    “The Blogosphere and Democracy: Hostile Media Perception, Information Selection, and Political Participation,” Hyunseo Hwang, Kjerstin Thorson, Porismita Borah, Rich Cleland, and David D. Perlmutter (last author from University of Kansas; all others from University of Wisconsin-Madison).

    This research examines whether individuals are driven to use political blogs in part because they perceive their viewpoints as under-represented within the mainstream news media. This perception of media hostility may influence patterns of media use, particularly information seeking in online settings.  The widespread availability of alternative information channels on the Internet has reduced the costs of finding like-minded information sources on blogs and other ideologically situated online news sources, enabling selective exposure to a supportive set of political ideas. In this paper, we first look at how alienation from mainstream news media shapes study participants’ information source selections. We then explore the paths that begin with alienation from mainstream news media, leading to supportive, like-minded blog use, and culminating in political participation. The results consistently revealed that hostile media perception leads to decreased use of mainstream media while increasing the use of supportive political blogs. The results demonstrate that supportive blog use is positively associated with discursive participations such as expressing one’s criticisms of the media, voicing one’s own views, and/or discussing one’s opinions with others, countering perceptions that like-minded blog use does not activate civic engagement and political action.


    Study Three:

    “Online and Offline Activism: Communication Mediation and Political Messaging Among Blog Readers,” Homero Gil de Zuniga, Emily Vraga, Aaron Veenstra, Ming Wang, Cathy DeShano, Dhavan Shah, and David D. Perlmutter (first author from University of Texas-Austin; others from University of Wisconsin-Madison; last author from University of Kansas).

    Political bloggers are viewed by many as lone voices, socially disconnected and working apart from the traditional mechanisms of participation. Critics assert that their audiences exist in an echo chamber, repeatedly exposed to uncritical reports that polarize but do not mobilize. This research challenges that view by examining the ways in which the members of blog audiences engage in the political process. Previous research on population cross-sections has found that Internet use for information seeking and political expression facilitates participation by complementing the effects of offline modes of communication (newspaper reading, television news viewing, and face-to-face political talk). Similar online and offline pathways to participation are observed among blog users, who are found to gather public affairs information and discuss political issues in conventional and virtual settings.  These dual routes to participation are observed for a range of participatory behaviors, from online expressive participation (e.g., sending email to an elected official) to offline collective participation (e.g., working for a political candidate).  We conclude that blog audiences are activated into a range of participatory behaviors through their use of a diverse set of informational and communicative resources.


    Read the Comments

    [ # 23360 ] Comment from Adam Bowman [November 20, 2007, 6:41 pm]

    Overall I think the studies are interesting, and have helped me formulate some understanding of the purpose of blogging.
    However, it also raised a lot of questions. As blogging and online political discussions are still in the early stages, the questions may not yet be answerable.

    In response to study I, I think that it’s a very interesting study and one that deserves even further exploration. Understanding where the information is coming from is vital to trusting and believing information on the Web.
    One item that stuck out for me was the concept that bloggers started as an internal way to express themselves and have a sounding board to vent, and that it has evolved to an external way of voicing or dissemination information to the masses.
    Without understanding who the individual blogger is, and what their message is, I don’t know that it isn’t still internal. Having people reading your thoughts could fan the ego flame and make it even more internal.
    Also the belief that readers of blogs agree with the blogger needs further study. This seems a first person effect, the belief that people react to things the way I react to them. However, an argument could be made that those reading the blogs are there because they agree with the blogger and that point of view. Either way I would need to see eveidence of this before I would accept it as fact.

    Study II really made me think that blogging could be the beginning of the end of people coming to some sort of political understanding on conflicting issues.
    The study seemed to suggest that people are going online to find information that agrees with their beliefs because they aren’t getting the assurance that they are right from the Main Stream Media. Are the people also taking their beliefs to hostile blogs that they can then have an open debate? Or are like-minded people just patting each other on the back for being what they feel is right about an issue, within the confines of a safe environment free of opposition? Can a person be enlightened by new ideas this way?
    Also as a blogger, if you have some truths that aren’t being voiced in MSM, can you reach out and convert people to your side of the argument?
    These questions may sound similar, and they are. But they are coming from different angles. The first question is from the point of view of the user. The second is from the point of view of the blogger.
    I would like to see a study about whether through this open forum people are reaching solutions to societal problems.

    Study III was interesting, and perhaps because of my ignorance of political blogging, I had questions about some of the outcomes of online political discussions.
    From the little online discussions I have seen, things quickly digress into name-calling. I don’t see how that form of discussion is helping further political discussion. I think some further interesting studies would be centered around whether people can have a civil online conversation while keeping anonymity or distance between those opposing each other.
    I see that more people are participating in online political discussions, but are they contributing to a serious debate? Perhaps these studies assumed that, and my inexperience with political blogging is evident in the questions. But truthfully that has been my reasons in the past for not participating in blogging. I don’t trust people to have a sane conversation through the safe havens of their computers.

    [ # 24837 ] Comment from J.J. De Simone [November 29, 2007, 11:24 pm]

    J.J. De Simone
    Comments and criticisms of
    From Expression to Influence:
    Understanding the Change in Blogger Motivations over the Blogspan
    The Blogosphere, referred to in the study as the Blogspan, is a very interesting and new form of mass communication. As such, it is ripe for study. According to the authors, there is very little social science literature about political blogs. The six authors recognized the need for more political blogs literature, hence the execution of the study. In all, the authors significantly made a contribution to the study of political blogs and, tangentially, new forms of mass media.
    The authors properly reported demographic information. Interestingly, almost 75% of the polled influential political bloggers were male. Certainly, the stratification between male and female political bloggers would make an interesting future study. The findings, discovered using a simple T-Test, too were fascinating. Learning why bloggers started and continue to blog helps shed light on the relatively new phenomenon. The fact motivations grew during a blogger’s tenure indicates the potential power of blogging.
    However, some weaknesses are present in the study. In the presentation, no research question or hypothesis is clearly defined. Although the authors might have included a research question of hypothesis in the completed manuscript, it is not present in the slideshow. Understanding the point of a study is very important. And although the results were interesting, were they reflective of what the researchers were testing for?
    Additionally, the literature review is too brief. Although it probably was fleshed out in the original study, for the sake of a slideshow, some more background information would have been helpful to the readers. Also, the abbreviation “MSM” was not explicated. Defining that term would have been helpful to people not familiar with the Blogosphere.
    Perhaps the greatest criticism of the study is a lack of theoretical application. The study mentioned media frames as its theoretical perspective. But when discussing motivations, it seems the uses and gratifications theory would have been more applicable. As such, the literature review should have reflected the theoretical application.
    It can be argued the study was exploratory in nature and was intended to be brief. However, including some of the identified omissions would have bolstered the study’s external validity and increased the importance of the findings. Or, the authors could have discussed the study’s weaknesses, hence explaining why some pertinent information seems to be missing. In all, the study did discover an interesting fact; that bloggers’ motivations for perpetuating their job or hobby increases over time. Certainly, future studies could expand upon the reviewed study’s discoveries.

    [ # 24963 ] Comment from Sheila W [November 30, 2007, 6:05 pm]

    Generally, the study is quite interesting. It helps me shape the frame understanding about political blogging, which is kind of strange for me before. Among the three studies, I am more interested in the first one.

    Web blogs, as a complement for established media, are a place to free express personal thoughts. This is the nature for any blog, in my opinion. While political blogs might be the best symbol of the Internet’s impact. Many blogs are extremely one-sided and spend much time shouting down those on the other side. It even has influence on the presidential run.

    So, to study the motivation of those bloggers is quite interesting and worthy of further research. Besides the motivations mentioned in the study, I think networking, the fundamental feature for blog, still deserves research. Each blog clusters a group of supporters in one partisan. They communicate and share their opinion of topics in the blog. How to network all blogs on one side to produce a big power might be another topic to study.

    As we are talking about bloggers, another question comes out. Who are those bloggers? Since political blog is a place to free voice for any issue about politics, the background of bloggers seems to decide whether the source is credible or not. Anyone can open a blog and speak anything they want. Bad reputation of the political bloggers could even hurt the partisan they are talking about.

    Overall, this is a really and good and meaningful study.

    [ # 24972 ] Comment from Josh Patterson [November 30, 2007, 8:06 pm]

    I enjoyed reading these studies; the emerging world of Internet media is very interesting.

    The first article outlines how bloggers motivations develop and change over time. During the “blogspan” the researchers note the changing motivations for blogging. Blog authors transition from using the medium as a personal tool to vent political opinions and “let off steam,” to using blogs as a legitimate means of generating revenue and influencing public opinion.

    I think that for many bloggers there must be a significant transition in the approach they take from using their blog as a means of venting to using it as a professional means of communication. Specifically, if blog authors are concerned with generating revenue they must make the transition from viewing their blog as a medium of self-expression to one that considers the values of their target audience. If this is the case, are they becoming more in tune with mainstream media outlets?

    The demographics of these studies are worth further investigation. According to the data, the average blogger is male, middle aged, well-educated and upper-middle class. I found it surprising that members of a demographic, who — it could be argued — are a major voice in many political issues, find themselves alienated and search for alternative media outlets.

    Studies two and three appear to compliment each other. They show there is a correlation between hostile media perception and use of blogs that bolster one’s own point of view. The third study notes blog readers are in fact, a connected audience, capable of action. Are they mobilizing themselves to act without knowing (or caring?) that they may be acting with a less comprehensive understanding of an issue?

    While political blog readers may be active political participants do they still “exist in an echo chamber?” If so, is the audience’s understanding of issues measurably less comprehensive (more biased), because of their use of online media sources as opposed to traditional media outlets?

    I also wonder about the credibility of anonymous sources on the Internet. The use of screen names or monikers demonstrates a lack of accountability.
    I feel if bloggers desire to be taken seriously as citizen journalists they have a responsibility to “own their words,” and provide their audience with a higher degree of transparency. The posting of contributor bios or resumes on blogs can improve credibility with readers. The more an audience knows about their source the better.

    [ # 25322 ] Comment from Amanda Clemens [December 3, 2007, 8:59 pm]

    All three studies share some enlightening and innovative views of the blogosphere.

    With regard to the first study, bloggers reported an increase in all four factors associated with blogging motiviations. However, I question whether this increase was predicated by an increase in viewship by like-minded people. Is there a positive feedback loop that accounts for a significant portion of their satisfaction? And if so, is the political influence they seek to exert artificially increased? I would also be interested in further research on how bloggers define themselves as citizen journalists—or if they do at all.

    Study Two’s look at hostile media effects makes me wonder if the same amount of significance, or credence, is given to mainstream news media and online, nontraditional news media. While hostile media perception might drive people to blogs that agree with their views, do these viewers treat the information they receive through the blogs as more valid than information from mainstream media? In other words, does the level of credibility assigned to whatever blogs they read affect how much worth they assign to that particular blog?

    The reader survey indicates a certain level of education and income. These readers appear to have enough time and means to engage in a certain amount of political activity from home, but perhaps not enough to lobby for their causes outside of the home. This makes me wonder about readers who have smaller yearly incomes.

    I also wonder about the disproportionate number of men to women in the survey. Is it the nature of the blogs visited, or does it indicate something larger—that women still do a disproportionate amount of household work and childrearing, leaving their partners more time to blog?

    Study Three looks at online and offline political engagement of bloggers. I do not challenge the range or level of participatory behavior, but I wonder about the nature of it. Should we assign the same significance to a blog or chat that demonstrates a lack of political knowledge or sophistication to one that clearly does, even though they have the same level of readership and reader engagement? Is no political engagement better than engagement that relies on incomplete information? Or are biases irrelevant?

    In all, the nature of political blogging is a fascinating field of study. Since it is so young, I anticipate that my questions will be quickly answered in some fashion.

    [ # 25352 ] Comment from Rauf Arif [December 4, 2007, 12:49 am]

    All the three studies under review have aptly covered the emerging issues and questions related to political bloggers and readers. However, at the same time, based on their findings, these studies have given birth to new thoughts and debates in the filed of political communication.
    Study one:
    This study talks about the phenomenon of evolution in motivation of political bloggers. It argues that [t]hese motivations, which include the desire to “let off steam,” “earn money,” “influence opinion,” and “help society” almost all increase over time – signifying that blogging has an empowering effect”.
    Based upon the findings of this study, bloggings may have empowering effect. In my point of view, however, this argument of ‘empowering effect’ is only true for Internet- users. Whereas, a majority of audience still, cannot or do not use Internet and rely on traditional sources of media such as TV, Radio and newspapers. In this case, media theory of “knowledge gap” can pose new challenges for Political Communication scholars. And this needs to be studied further so as measure the empowering effect of political blogging.
    Again, the study argue a transition among blog authors from regarding web logs as an internal, expressive form of communication to seeing them as an external, persuasive mode of political advocacy and citizen journalism.
    In my opinion, the argument of shift from ‘internal to expressive’ form of communication should further be studied on the basis of ‘Deep theory’, which talks about hidden/deep believes.
    Moreover, the question arises that whether this transition among blog authors would involve more readers in political communication or not.
    Study two:
    The second study reveals that supportive blog use is positively associated with discursive participations such as expressing one’s criticisms of the media, voicing one’s own views, and/or discussing one’s opinions with others, countering perceptions that like-minded blog use does not activate civic engagement and political action.

    Responding to study II, it is very good for me to know this aspect of blog using but at the same time, it seems that increasing dependency on bogs, would ultimately limit the choice of audience (Readers). Again, I think there is a need to study the relationship between changing opinions and blog using.

    Study Three:
    As far as study III is concerned, I agree with the argument that blog audiences are activated into a range of participatory behaviors through their use of a diverse set of informational and communicative resources.
    I think blog using is not only a way to express ones opinion but it also enhances interaction between political leaders and ordinary citizens. At the same time, blog using is paving way for the world audience to involve directly into international political issues and express their opinions with more freedom. In this case, Political bloggers are not lone voices or socially disconnected, rather they are providing a platform to scattered voices to express their political views.

    Concluding the debate, I can say that all the three studies not only enhanced my knowledge of political blogging, but also help me realize the importance of ‘Blogs’ in future Political Communication studies.
    Moreover, the provision of data in the beginning section of ‘Blogger/Reader survey, was another helpful resource for me to know the habit, age-group and gender of Political bloggers and their readers.

    [ # 25358 ] Comment from Denzyl Janneker [December 4, 2007, 1:53 am]

    As someone, somewhat unfamiliar to the domain of political bloggers (my feeble excuse perhaps being of limited exposure to the blogosphere in South Africa), the opinions to follow serve but a narrow, relatively uninformed position, but I’ll nevertheless endeavor to venture a commentary.

    Having read the expanded survey here, I’m puzzled as to why it’s taken this long to conduct research on political bloggers, given as the survey shows, the extent to which they’ve become such influential voices in society.

    I’m not altogether familiar with the bloggers cited in the first study, notably Daily Kos and Hullabaloo, but reading through the postings, there’s much incisive political thought, that I imagine, would warrant their initial motivations for blogging - “providing an alternative perspective to mainstream media,” the desire to “let off steam,” and “influence public opinion.” Not surprisingly, the need to “earn money,”doesn’t feature strongly as a prime motivating factor for starting blogs, even though blogging has become a cash cow for some intrepid writers.

    The researchers provide evidence that motivations change from bloggers merely “expressing” themselves internally, to a broader goal of public dissemination of ideas - the external expression that informs and shapes public opinion.

    Whilst I accept that that may be true, I’d venture to ask that, assuming the initial motivations - helping society, helping a political party or cause, influencing public opinion - are all external aspirations of serving the greater good of society, save for the minority interests of making money, can the study justifiably argue the merits of real change from internal to external motivations? And is there not an overlap from the initial reasons for starting a blog - expressing political opinions, to what bloggers are in any event already doing?

    I’m open to being persuaded otherwise, but the study is timeous, coming at a time when Americans go to the polls to elect a new president and where alternative forms of communication, like blogs and Youtube are growing in prominence and providing a welcome alternative to mainstream mass media perspectives.

    And speaking of mainstream media, the findings in the second study are sure to sound the clarion call for reflection and change within the industry. It’s not hard to imagine that there are disgruntled information consumers who resort to political blogs out of frustration at the depth, or lack thereof, of comprehensive political coverage of events, or whatever discourages people from traditional forms of communication. My sense though, is that these are the concerns of refined consumers, an intellectual elite who can make the distinction between quality information and shoddy content and shift to alternative sources according to their preferences. How often have readers complained about coverage of news by a particular newspaper, television or radio station, yet tended remain loyal to these information sources? With newspapers facing declining readership, not least because of under-representing the views of elements of society, but the ease with which online sources of communication are available, there might well be a gap that political blogs could capitalize upon.

    The last study confounds some established criticisms about bloggers and their audiences. The charge that audiences are exposed to uncritical reports that “polarize” and not “mobilize” seems difficult to fathom. Granted there may be “lone voices” that have not ventured into the “persuasive mode of political advocacy and citizen journalism,” but I know of instances where some have used online and offline forms of communication to articulate their ideas and rally like-minded citizens into action around particular causes. But there’s room for much more research around the online and offline political behaviors of audiences and their interaction with bloggers, that if not debunking some of the prevailing misunderstandings about blogs, at least adds value to studies undertaken to date, and presents some useful insights to lay people, of which I am one of many.

    [ # 25382 ] Comment from Soleak Seang [December 4, 2007, 6:57 am]

    The three studies provide unique contributions to modern media and mass communication literature.

    Political blogging is a relatively new domain of research. Study one looks at a particularly interesting aspect of political bloggers’ motivations. As one might question credibility of a blog, he should have knowledge of the purpose and/or motivations of the writer – the blogger.

    The study provides an understanding that political bloggers started their blogs from intrinsic motivations like helping society and critiquing mainstream media to extrinsic motivations like earning money and helping a political party. This is an integral part of the findings, but what does each motivation affect the contents of individual blogs? Do contents vary if they’re to make profit or to help society?

    Also, the findings demonstrate that blog sites begin to rival mainstream media. This raises a question of whether political blogs will largely replace mainstream media as a source of political news. By looking at the process of creating blog’s contents, however, I think this will not be the case as long as political bloggers rely on mainstream media for information, and credibility of citizen journalism remains an issue.

    Political blogs can influence blog readers, but I believe reader’s pre-existing beliefs also play a part in that influence. As suggested by the authors, other factors may influence the blogging process, and thus require further studies.

    Study two demonstrates that when people hold hostile perception against mainstream media, they seek alternative means of expression. This study shows uses and gratifications of political blogs. People seek to use like-minded sources, which are tremendously available on the internet, and gratify them according to their needs. The like-minded information source tendency has happened among the mainstream media themselves. For example, a person has his favorite radio and thus chooses not listen to others. So, this is not a new concept in the field mass communication research, but it is new in the application of Web blogs.

    As people today have more options of information sources, they can turn to those options, one of which is political blog because they can have safer expression, more interaction and more political participation. However, this development tends to continue to create greater differing political views. Therefore, finding out the consequences and/or impacts of these differing views is also important.

    Study three provides important findings that to challenge criticism which seems to under-rate the effects of political blogs. Political blogs have played a greater role in political process. They are becoming an important means of informing the public and gathering political participation. One recent example was a fund raising campaign of Republican presidential candidate Rau Paul. Though his political blog, he raised more than $4 million within a day.
    However, I am curious about the relationships between bloggers and readers, relationships among bloggers themselves and between bloggers and politicians. I also want to know if political blogs can drive public policy of a nation.

    I found these studies very interesting. Further studies suggested by the authors are of great value for exploration. I think these studies can also be used as models for similar studies in other countries.

    [ # 25468 ] Comment from Karen Blakeman [December 5, 2007, 2:15 am]

    I was frustrated by reading and attempting to analyze the summaries of this research without seeing the actual studies. I have the same response to television news teasers: OK, I’m hooked. I want the information. I’m waiting on pins and needles at
    I’d like to see the surveys. I want to know what questions were asked, what ranges of responses were made available to respondents and how the questions were phrased. I want to see how the questions put to the bloggers differ from or show similarities to the questions put to the blog readers. Is it possible to do comparisons between the two sets of data?
    I want to see the data and learn more about how it was analyzed. I’d like to see the full literature review sections for these studies. I appreciate the summaries and list of references, but I’d like to follow the researchers’ reasoning step by step.
    I want to see these things for two reasons: 1. I want to better understand and assess this research. 2. Seeing this information would help me in my attempts to properly design a survey study concerning blogs. I would like to “stand on the shoulders” of these researchers, to borrow a favorite phrase of a University of Kansas researcher involved in the Blogger-Reader Survey studies, but I need a clearer picture of those shoulders – and the shoulders upon which they stand — before I take that step.
    I have a lot more to say and list of questions a mile long, but this is a short post and I want to comment on a concern expressed by several of the previous posters.
    I agree that the tendency – as explored in the second study — for blog readers to move away from main stream media and seek information from like-minded bloggers is disturbing, even if it does lead to increased political participation. I worry that if this trend persists we will eventually have no common ground for discussion. However, I’d like to point out that this is not a situation that was created by the blogosphere. Before the internet, radio talk shows were hosted by and targeted toward people of narrow political views. Television broadcasters and print publications have proven they aren’t immune. Extreme partisanship exists beyond the reach of mass media; it can be heard, for instance, from church pulpits. My point is this: perhaps we ought to examine the political system itself before shooting the newest of society’s messengers.
    The internet is extremely young and blogging is just as new. While this type of communication – lacking in traditional gatekeeper functions of other forms of media while retaining the ability to wield considerable influence — presents some very frightening challenges, it also has also shown the capacity to exert positive change. Also, it does seem to be maturing, as the changing blogger motivation patterns in the first study demonstrate. Research like this – and the discussions provoked by it – will help it to move in positive directions.

    [ # 25886 ] Comment from Rhonda LeValdo [December 8, 2007, 2:30 am]

    I agree with Blakeman on wanting to see a sample of the surveys used. While the studies were quite interesting, and make the reader really want to know what drives bloggers. As a minority in the blogger world, I would also like the see the cultural diversity in blogging. The study with the political blogs, makes me wonder, were these participants all white or were they a cross section of the society? In a discussion I attended last semester with two political bloggers they seemed to not care that non-whites weren’t into blogging because it was almost “their world” and the idea that blogging was open to all people if they went to a library. I found that quite strange, if you were to say that to a native american on a reservation that didn’t have access to internet, so, blogging isn’t really open to everyone.
    Anyways, with the question about making mainstream media look at things differently, I also wondered if the research looked(again) into diversity blogging, like african american blogging, native american blogging, gay blogging, those certainly would have different story ideas than mainstream media, about political candidates. Like who do the Native Americans endorse? Might be worth looking into, then maybe I could see if blogging changes the media.
    The one thing I also found it encouraging that bloggers aren’t just blogging to just de-stress but for a purpose and that is something good.
    One more idea, I have heard, that bloggers bully a blogger who may not share the same opinion, where they tell people not to read their blogs, and they go into some blogger alienation. I wondered if this was true and looked for something in the studies about it, but didn’t really find anything. I would like to see a study on that and what other bloggers if any did that to bloggers they didn’t like. If it was true, then wouldn’t blogging be like a “club” who is in and who is out, and if it was that way, why would we put any value into it. I am not saying that is true, but would like see something relating to it. All in all, i enjoyed the data! cheerio!

    [ # 25914 ] Comment from Uyanga Bazaa [December 8, 2007, 6:52 am]

    In the world, blogging has been blooming within past decade as of 70 million blogs in existence, today (Johnson, B.). A study “From expression to influence: Understanding the change in blogger motivations over the blogspan” has made a great contribution to understand why people turn into cyber world rather choosing mainstream media as their main information source.

    Therefore, studying the motivation of bloggers is new contribution to understand this new trend. Researchers revealed four reasons of blogging, namely “let off steam,” “earn money,” “influence opinion,” and “help society.” Generally, most important motivation of prominent bloggers was to provide an alternative perspective to MSM, to influence or to critique MSM. (Ekdale, Namkoong, Fung, Hussain, Arora & Perlmutter) For this reason, weblog users see the credibility of blog is better than MSM. (Johnson, T.J) Furthermore, blogging is seen as a mode of citizen journalism (Ekdale, i.e) and bloggers are seen that they will take over the duty of MSM to inform.

    In contrast, some researchers (Brodsky) see the blogging as another information source which will complement rather than replace traditional media. On the other hand, newspapers are trying to fill their disadvantage running stables of blogs to try to bring readers into closer contact with their journalists.

    Uniqueness about blogging in compare to any other media like newspaper, radio and TV, it requires more special conditions, including owning computer, internet connection, search for information, reading and blogging. Only highly motivated people would blog. Like people tend to choose the information source based on their interest or what story they want to be told, bloggers are group of people who seek for the story that they want to hear and have an idea or story to tell others. For this reason Internet is being used like an echo chamber to support only like-minded viewpoints. (Pew Internet Report) Report proves “Wired Americans hear more points of view about candidates and key issues than other citizens.” This leads to the conclusion of citizens would use the internet to seek information that reinforces their political preferences and avoid material that challenges their views.

    Bloggers who started as a hobby now see the tremendous change and feel the power of influence. Their motivations have been changed from expression to change the society, help people and let off the steam. However, there is nothing perfect or certain level of bias will always be in every individual’s mind.

    According to Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader survey, about three fourth of the respondents were male. Why the political bloggers tend to be men rather than women, would be interesting topic to study, too. It could be connected to historically proven trend of men are more interested or involved in politics, rather than women do.


    Brodsky, Ira. (2005). Blogosphere vs. mainstream media Network World 22(6), p43

    Ekdale, Brian., Namkoong, Kang., Fung, Timothy., Hussain, Muzammil., Arora, Madhu.,
    & Pelrmutter, D.D. (2007) From Expression to influence: Understanding the change in blogger motivations over the blogspan

    Johnson, B. (2007, April 7). Technology: Blogs mark the first 10 years: After quite start
    they revolutionized the web; now one id born every second. The Guardian
    (London) p.31

    Johnson, T.J., & Kaye, B.K. (2004). Wag the blog: How reliance on traditional media and
    the internet influence credibility perceptions of weblogs among blog users Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 81(3), 622-642

    Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2004). The Internet and democratic debate
    Available online at http://www.pewinternet.org/.

    [ # 26052 ] Comment from Arthur Hur [December 9, 2007, 5:43 am]

    Even though I don’t know a great deal about politics, I am still very interested in the growth and effects of online tools such as blogs.

    It was fairly surprising to me just how unbalanced the male to female ratio of political bloggers and readers was with nearly 74 percent of the responders being male. Even though some would argue that politics are still male dominated, women are perhaps more active than men.

    What was not nearly as much of a surprise was the number of Democratic respondents as opposed to Republican participants due to the fact that Democrats tend to be younger and therefore more tech-savvy and accepting of blogs and other online media.

    If completing the survey was an active choice or non-probability for participants, then it has to be kept in mind that the sample probably was comprised with the more serious bloggers and underrepresented the casual blogger who may not have had strong enough feelings to complete a survey.

    Study One
    I think it’s interesting how blogs in general have evolved from being a public journal to a tool that can voice opinions to a broad audience. It would be worth researching other factors that might have contributed to the evolution of motivations for political bloggers besides the aforementioned argument that blog authors now view blogs as an external mode of political advocacy.

    Study Two
    The second study determined that the use of supportive political blogs increased while mainstream media (television and newspaper and maybe to a certain extent, radio) usage decreased. I don’t find that surprising at all since one can usually find others with the same mindset in a fairly short time in online communities such as blogs, forums, and social networking groups. However, this could have undesirable effects, such as increasing ignorance about other political views and becoming too one-dimensional.

    Study Three
    This study was probably the most controversial one because the possibility exists that there are political bloggers who do nothing all day but stay inside and blog. At the same time, it’s important to realize that at least some bloggers use online media to complement offline political activities. I think the question is not if political bloggers are socially disconnected and working away from traditional political activities, but what percentage of bloggers are strictly online participants. I also think that blogs and other online resources are a very useful and convenient way for those who do not have the time to go out on the campaign trail in person or devote full-time hours to other such activities to get involved.

    [ # 26288 ] Comment from Alex Parker [December 10, 2007, 7:35 pm]

    These studies were particularly interesting in how they intertwined with one another. No study of blogs can be complete without considering the effect of MSM on blogs and bloggers.

    Blogging certainly seems to be an exercise in gratification, as bloggers initially seek to blow off steam or compete with MSM for their share of eyeballs. The research backs this theory

    The first study, “From Expression to Influence,” was most interesting to me. I can say, from personal experience, that blogging acts is a gratifying experience (or at least it is perceived to be). It is egocentric and self-centered, not always in a negative way, in that one person believes he or she has something to say that others will be interested in. But once it’s proven that some segment of society indeed is listening to a blogger, the way motivations change is significant.

    What is striking about this study is the cross-section of bloggers who were sampled. These people are living proof of the motivational evolution of blogging; the change they undergo is rarely studied or mentioned in the media, so I think that makes this study all the more valuable. I would be interested in knowing, as part of a further study, how their motivations play with readers. Do they really hold influence, or do you readers look at the blogs at part of their own gratification?

    Study Two’s conclusions that reading like-minded blogs increases civic engagement is intriguing. As readers and bloggers feel increasingly ostracized by mainstream media, they branch out. They challenge the traditional gatekeeping model; they crash the gate and force in information that has been left out.

    But as these blogs encourage political activism, do they have an effect? Certainly we’ve seen the ripple of blogs in the political world. Dan Rather’s Memogate scandal and the “swift boating” of John Kerry come to mind. But how sustained are these efforts? Do they have staying power or are they flash-in-the-pan moments?

    Study Three evaluates how the Internet has allowed political activism to grow. This is part of the democratization of information and also might be representative of Americans’ sedentary lifestyle: We can now engage in virtual activism. This is a positive thing, as it means more voices in the conversation.

    I wonder what types of bloggers and readers engage in the most sustained and influential activism. Liberals or conservatives? Baby boomers or college students?

    The study, however, is able to show us how participation is increased due blogs. As MSM struggles for a foothold and low voter turnouts are lamented, studies like these can be crucial in growing political awareness and participation in America.

    [ # 26298 ] Comment from Lorenzo Eichhorn [December 10, 2007, 9:32 pm]

    Even if political blogging plays a growing but certainly not major role in my home country, I am rather unfamiliar with this expansion. (While the US and the Scandinavian countries are usually ranked on the first places on eDemocracy as well as blog surveys, Germany holds its position in the middle field.) Anyhow, I am open to go into the material but the following assumptions and opinions are based on a fairly unilluminating point of view.

    The motivation as to why prominent political bloggers articulate themselves on the web seems to be relevant at any rate. Therefore it is astonishing that no relevant studies have been done so far. However, the question related to policy making, structures, and communication in politics continually implicates the issue of power. In regard to this study, blogging seems to be a relevant medium of political communication in which hopefully the best ideas and the brightest logger pages will be successful.

    Notwithstanding this point, the study about the “Understanding of the Change in Blogger Motivations over the Blogspan” asks the question of internal versus external communicational expression. The distinction between these two terms seems to be somewhat unclear because first of all the blogger sphere and the development is not easy to control in terms of internal or external outcome and secondly, it seems to be complex to define and distinct internal and external in this perspective. However, the study shows at least the relevance of the issue and the need to employ critical questions.

    From the study “Blogosphere and Democracy” arose probably the most important question about codetermination, democracy and the web, which is mandatory to ask. Like eDemocracy – from the online assess to governmental papers to the first attempts to vote online in Sweden – this study indicates the challenge of conventional accessions to information and political discussions. The results of the study are possibly not unexpected and surprising but significant as well as helpful for my understanding.

    While there is a decrease in the use of mainstream media, the politically supportive blogs are increasingly used for the expression of the one’s criticisms of the media, voicing one’s own views and discussions about one’s opinion, therefore the influential and opinion-changing effect of blogs should not be underestimated. As mentioned above, the democratic relevance of blogs is the question that should be followed in the further academic discussion.

    The question of how members of the blog audiences engage in the political process is articulated in the study about “Online and Offline Activism”. The Internet is used by complementing to offline modes of communication, which is in this context a relevant observation. The study’s results show that blog audiences are activated into a range of participatory behaviors through their use of a diverse set of Informational and communicative resources which is meaningful and should be developed further.

    All three studies show innovation as well as the significance of further engagement about political blogging. Finally, they emphasize blogging as an influential and growing voice in the process of political communication.

    [ # 83172 ] Comment from Daniel [September 9, 2008, 10:27 am]

    You are giving the knowledge about Basel II to others.
    It’s really very good
    Keep it up……..

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