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Keywords:

  • political blog;
  • blogosphere;
  • hyperlink analysis;
  • social network analysis;
  • South Korea;
  • National Assembly;
  • affiliation network

This paper investigates hyperlink patterns in the South Korean political blogosphere. Using sampling from the blog sidebar hyperlinks of elected politicians (National Assemblymen), the top 79 elite citizen blogs were selected. Two data sets were manually compiled during January, 2007: (a) links between politicians and citizens, and (b) links amongst citizens. A variety of social network analytical methods were then applied. The results show that more top blogs have reciprocal links with politicians than have unidirectional links. The structure of hyperlink interconnectivity suggests that the ruling Uri party affiliated blogs are key in the blog network. For example, the blogs tied with the Uri party have a higher centrality and are more densely connected. Network diagrams also suggest that the top blogs are polarized by party. However, some blogs are located at the center of the Uri and GNP clusters and are connected to both camps. In other words, there are a number of citizen blogs that link to both the Uri and GNP members, because their political identities are not completely shaped but also remain between 2 different ideologies. This suggests that binary opposition in online political discourse is slowly changing.