A Social Hypertext Model for Finding Community in Blogs

Alvin Chin, Mark Chignell


Blogging has become the newest communication medium for creating a virtual community, a set of blogs linking back and forth to one another's postings, while discussing common topics. In this paper, we examine how communities can be discovered through interconnected blogs as a form of social hypertext. We propose a method and model that detects structures of community in the social network of blogs by integrating McMillan and Chavis' sense of community along with network analysis. From the model, we measure community in the blogs by aligning centrality measures from social network analysis with measures of sense of community obtained using behavioural surveys. We then illustrate the use of this approach with a case study built around an independent music blog. The strength of community measures were found to be well aligned with the network structure, based on centrality measures. Even though the sample size from the case study was small, once the structure and measure of communities are calibrated according to our social hypertext model, communities can be automatically found and measured for other blogs without the need for behavioural surveys.


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