The Finnish “immigration critics” blog network

In my previous post I mapped the network of anti-jihadist bloggers mentioned in the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik. This afternoon I stumbled upon a tweet by Martti Tulenheimo requesting something similar on the Finnish blogosphere.

I had actually tried to do something like that a few days ago, but didn’t manage to write the script I wanted. The plan was to use Yahoo’s inbound link API and have it build the network automatically. But I didn’t figure out how to only include links from the main page of a site (as Analyze Banklinks lets you do). So instead I took a more manual approach.

The method

As in the previous post I used Analyze Banklinks to list incoming links. The backlink analysis was done on the following blogs:

Site Links
http://www.jussi-halla.com/scripta 93
http://kullervokalervonpoika.wordpress.com/ 38
http://octavius1.wordpress.com/ 28
http://www.hommaforum.org 23
http://yrjoperskeles.blogspot.com/ 8
http://marialohela.fi/blogi/ 7
http://izrailit.blogspot.com/ 6
http://vasarahammer.blogspot.com/ 6
http://turkkila.blogspot.com/ 5
http://tuuritapio.blogspot.com/ 3
http://nikopol2008.blogspot.com/ 2
http://reinoblog.blogspot.com/ 2
http://laivaontaynna.blogspot.com/ 1

These are the blogs listed as “critical voices” on the blog of Jussi Halla-aho (or “the master” as he is refered to on the Homma discussion board) and they serve as a good starting point for this purpose.

I run all of the blogs through Analyze Backlinks to get a network of 133 blogs. I have obviously not read all of these blogs to check if it is correct to label them as immigration critics. The 133 blogs included in this network are merely to sites that link to at least one of the blogs mentioned above.

The results have to be read with some caution. I am not sure how reliable Analyze Backlinks is. Their own disclaimer warns that the results may not be accurate.

The results

Again I used Gephi to draw the network and this is what came out (click to open as pdf):

Click to open as pdf.

The size of the sites are determined by the number of inlinks, that is the number of sites that link to the page (not only front page links are counted here). A large number of inlinks indicate that the site is popular. Hence the big dots should be seen as key nodes in the Finnish immigration critic blogosphere.

However, I am not quite sure about the quality of the inlink count that Analyze Backlinks provide. I had a quick look at what numbers that Yahoo’s backlink API throws out and there seems to be a significant discrepancy.

So this analysis is far from perfect, but it’s a start and it gives you a decent idea of what the most important sites are in blogoshere of Finnish immigration critics. If you have thoughts on how the methodology could be improved I would love to hear your comments.


Mapping the anti-jihadist blogosphere

It has been a truly sad weekend with the terrorist attack of Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo, Norway. An extremely important political discussion is now unfolding about the causes of this tragedy. What was for example the role of the expanding anti-jihadist blogosphere?

In his manifesto Breivik keeps referring to five anti-islamic blogs:

All of these bloggers have condemned Breivik and adopted a martyr position after severe criticism from all over the world. But as for example Bjørn Stærk points out the dangerous potential of these bloggers have to be taken seriously.

I wanted to look closer at this network of bloggers. In an initial attempt to map the anti-jihadist I gathered the backlinks (the incoming links) of the five blogs mentioned above (using this site). I only included links from the front page, which means that links from single blog posts were excluded. The result was a list of 749 sites (not only blogs).

I run the list through Gephi and got the following network.

Click to open as pdf.

The size of the names are determined by the number of in-links. The sites in the middle are the ones that links to several of the five blogs.

Much more could be done to learn more about this network. One could for example expand the backlink dig to more blogs. Could that process somehow be automated? And could one use some sort of API to get more data on the sites that link to these five blogs? Geo data for example? Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to contribute.

You’ll find the backlinks I’ve gathered so far on Google Docs.


Mapping Ratata: Who’s Hot?

I wanted to play around in Gephi a bit more after my previous post about visualizing my social network on Facebook. So for my second project I turned my eyes to Ratata, a Swedish blog community in Finland with just over 1200 bloggers. A friend of mine, Poppe (also on Ratata), has been talking about analyzing the Swedish blogosphere. I hope he doesn’t mind me “borrowing” the idea.

I have almost no prior programming experience, but for some time now I have been trying to learn more about screen scraping. Guided mostly by the Dan Nguyen’s brilliant tutorial on coding for journalist I have started to know my way around Ruby. Scraper wiki also provides good guidance for those of us who still mostly do copy-paste programming.

After two days of trial and error I managed to put together a script that extracts all the links to fellow Ratata blogs from all the 1207 blogs. That gave me a data set of almost 2000 connections (due to some technical issues I had to exclude a couple of blogs). I obviously wanted to find out who is most popular. That is, who gets the most in-links? This is the result (click for full scale pdf):

The size depends on the number of in-links. Karin, one of the founders of the blog community, is maybe not to surprisingly number one with 70 other Ratata bloggers linking to her, followed by Mysfabon (43) and Kisimyran (37).
You’ll also notice that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is big when comes to links. The core of the map is surrounded by a cloud of unconnected blogs (and shattered dreams of blogger fame perhaps?).

I’ve uploaded the Gephi file if you want to take a closer look at the dataset yourself.

Here is the complete top ten:

Blog Links
karin.ratata.fi 70
mysfabo.ratata.fi 43
kisimyran.ratata.fi 37
soxxy.ratata.fi 33
smulansliv.ratata.fi 33
smilla.ratata.fi 32
klaffen.ratata.fi 31
svensken.ratata.fi 30
skinka.ratata.fi 28
madison.ratata.fi 27

Project One: Visualizing Friendship

I looked around for tools for visualizing social networks yesterday and found two great things:

  • An application called Gephi.
  • A tutorial explaingin how to get started with Gephi.

In the tutorial Tony Hirst shows how easy it can be to visualize Facebook friendship. With a small Facebook app called netvizz you can easily download information about who knows who in your social network. You’ll get the data in a neat .gdf file that can turn in to a nice graph in a couple of seconds.

With a little bit of color my Facebook network vizualized like this (click to open full scale pdf):

The public interest in this visualization might not be enormous. However, it does say quite a bit about my life and different stages of it:

  • The big yellow bulb represents my Helsinki network, mostly friends from university.
  • The blue network are friends from my hometown, old school friends that is.
  • On the right, between the yellow and the blue network you see friends from my student nation, Vasa nation. That is friends that study in Helsinki (yellow connections), but also know people from around my home town (blue connections).
  • The green ones are people I know from sports (close to blue as that was something I did when I was younger).
  • The red network is for people I know from Åland.
  • The purple network for my Erasmus pals.

Considering that I didn’t know anything about network visualization 24 hours ago I am quite pleased with this result.


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