May 16, 2005

Buzz, Blogs, and Beyond: the Internet and National Discourse in the Fall of 2004

Experimental research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and BuzzMetrics suggests that political bloggers can make an impact on politics, but they often follow the lead of politicians and journalists. This report employed new word-of-mouth tracking and cross-media correspondence techniques to examine the impact of online buzz on the national agenda during the last two months of the 2004 presidential election. PIP and BuzzMetrics examined the interplay of blogs, online citizen chatter in newsgroups, the mainstream news media and official political spin from the Democrat and Republican election camps. They also conducted a case study of the “Rathergate” scandal involving CBS News and unauthenticated memos about George W. Bush’s record in the National Guard.