On the bursty evolution of blogspace

Writing about blogs in a blog is a bit too much like navel-gazing. But, this is an interesting academic paper.

We propose two new tools to address the evolution of hyperlinked corpora. First, we define time graphs to extend the traditional notion of an evolving directed graph, capturing link creation as a point phenomenon in time. Second, we develop definitions and algorithms for time-dense community tracking, to crystallize the notion of community evolution. We develop these tools in the context of Blogspace , the space of weblogs (or blogs). Our study involves approximately 750K links among 25K blogs. We create a time graph on these blogs by an automatic analysis of their internal time stamps. We then study the evolution of connected component structure and microscopic community structure in this time graph. We show that Blogspace underwent a transition behavior around the end of 2001, and has been rapidly expanding over the past year, not just in metrics of scale, but also in metrics of community structure and connectedness. This expansion shows no sign of abating, although measures of connectedness must plateau within two years. By randomizing link destinations in Blogspace, but retaining sources and timestamps, we introduce a concept of randomized Blogspace . Herein, we observe similar evolution of a giant component, but no corresponding increase in community structure. Having demonstrated the formation of micro-communities over time, we then turn to the ongoing activity within active communities. We extend recent work of Kleinberg [11] to discover dense periods of "bursty" intra-community link creation.

For the full article, you need to sign up for a (free) membership to the Association for Computing Machinery.

Random links still show a growing Blogspace, but meshes among related blogs create community structures. And if stuff is happening, everyone will talk about it.