Our research indicates that the Persian blogosphere is indeed a large discussion space of approximately 60,000 routinely updated blogs featuring a rich and varied mix of bloggers. Social network analysis reveals the Iranian blogosphere to be dominated by four major network formations, or poles, with identifiable sub-clusters of bloggers within those poles.
We label the poles as
3) Persian Poetry and Literature, and
4) Mixed Networks. (View the full map.)
The secular/reformist pole contains both expatriates and Iranians involved in a dialog about Iranian politics, among many other issues. The conservative/religious pole contains three distinct sub-clusters, two focused principally on religious issues and one on politics and current affairs.
Given the repressive political and media environment, and high profile arrests and harassment of bloggers, one might not expect to find much political contestation in the blogosphere. However, we identified a subset of the secular/reformist pole focused intently on politics and current affairs and comprised mainly of bloggers living inside
Surprisingly, a minority of bloggers in the secular/reformist pole appear to blog anonymously, even in the more politically-oriented part of it; instead, it is more common for bloggers in the religious/conservative pole to blog anonymously.
Blocking of blogs by the government is less pervasive than we had assumed. Most of the blogosphere network is visible inside
Given the repressive media environment in
The peer-to-peer architecture of the blogosphere is more resistant to capture or control by the state than the older, hub and spoke architecture of the mass media model.