Over the past few weeks, as part of the VRES program at QUT, I have been assisting Axel and Jean on their Social Media Mapping project. The aim of the project is to try to understand the shape and dynamics of online public communication in Australia – focusing on “user created content” such as Blogs, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. My particular role in the program is to assess and categorise the online communication in the Australian Blogosphere. In doing this, I have begun analysing a list of over 7000 active Australian Blogs and allocating them into categories accordingly. By the end of this exercise, we will be able to view the category trends in Australian blogging and use this as a comparison against other countries later down the track.
Currently, a few weeks into the program, I have categorised just over 2000 blogs. However, I think it is important to note how I got to this stage as well as the established categories for feedback purposes. When first approaching this project, Jean and I worked together through a selection of 100 blogs and established some preliminary categories. In doing this exercise we came up with 17 categories, planned to be further worked into a succinct and exhaustive list within the coming weeks. This original list is as follows:
- Marketing and Business
- Spirituality and Self Help
- Health and Fitness
- Politics and Current Affairs
- Arts, Craft and Design
- Fashion, Beauty and Style
- Travel and Leisure
- Cultures and Languages
- Pets and Animals
- Science and Environment
Under each of these categories we went through and labelled each of the 100 blogs based on the main theme and topic of the blog rather than the purpose of the blog. We did this using the key words associated with the blog, as identified by the blogger, and by looking at the blog itself when necessary. However, over the next week I worked on another 600 blogs (roughly 10% of the total blogs to be categorised) and found that there were 3 more categories we had not yet considered that were frequenting the list:
18. Food and Beverage
19. Family and Home
20. Film and Literature
With a list of now 20 categories, it was decided some were to be eliminated before going any further in order to not waste time. Jean and I then worked together on updating, rearranging, and finalising the list into 15 categories. The final 15, along with an insight as to what is included in each category, is as follows:
1. Marketing and Business
Includes business coaching, accounting, finance, CV writing, advertising, seo tactics, B2B, make money online/wealth creation, insurance, paypal, online surveys, self promotion, freelance business
Includes personal opinions on various topics, ramblings of everyday life, the life of (insert name), etc.
3. Religion and Spirituality
Includes religion (e.g. christianity, buddhism, etc.), astrology, psychic prophecies and reading, horoscopes, alien encounters, apocalypse predictions, philosophical ramblings, etc.
4. Health, Fitness, and Self Help
Includes medical advice, diets, detox, natural medicines, yoga, pain and trauma therapies, boot camp, cosmetic surgery, specialist conditions (e.g. autism, cancer), DIY treatments, motivation and inspiration, etc.
5. Politics and Current Affairs
Includes news, politics, elections, worldwide issues, activism, campaigning, social justice, law, legalisation issues and demands, etc.
6. Home and Lifestyle
Combines 3 categories: Fashion, Beauty and Style; Family and Home; and Food and Beverage
Includes fashion advice, skin care and beauty tips, treatments, products, online shops, celebrity style, bags, shoes and accessories, parenting, mummy blogs, childcare, baby names, home improvement, gardening, maternity, recipes, restaurant and wine reviews, vineyards, online catering, food and cocktail courses, baking, lifestyle choices such as GLBT lifestyle, etc.
7. Arts, Craft, Design, and Photography
Includes architecture, animation, card making, anime, illustrations, painting, sculpture, graffiti, embroidery, sculpture, photo blogs, photography hire, photographers, photo services.
8. Travel and Leisure
Includes accommodation, travel tips and advice, experiences in travel, adventure holidays, working holidays, visas, backpacking, expat information, travel journals, etc.
Combines 2 categories: Music, Film and Literature; and Culture and Languages
Includes music blogs, live entertainment, authors, poetry, novelists, book selling, writing, book and film reviews, movie information, indigenous culture, african culture, pop culture, australian history, etc.
Includes learning, academic and student blogs, etc.
Includes anything about sport, e.g. cycling, rugby, AFL, coaching, soccer, sports bets, sports fans, sporting heroes, etc.
12. IT & Technology
Includes CSS/HTML, accessibility, web standards, computing, web design, tutorials, social media, telecommunications, iphone, blackberry, smartphones, gaming etc.
13. Pets and Animals
Includes dogs, cats, general pet blogs, animal therapists, vets, hunting, bird watching, etc.
Includes cars, boats, bikes, aircraft, auto repairs, transport, etc.
15. Science and Environment
Includes renewable energy, wind energy, solar power, scientific discoveries and theories, etc.
This worked list of 15 categories is hoped to be the final list, but is open to suggestion and feedback. Over the next few weeks I will be working on getting through another 1000 blogs as well as exploring blogs that originally fell under the “Fashion, Beauty and Style” category (now merged under the “Home & Lifestyle” category).
To visually represent the current difference between blog category size I have created a word cloud – the larger the word,the greater amount of blogs that currently fall into that category:
It will be interesting to see how this word cloud changes and develops after more blogs have been categorised. It is however, very important to note that blog categories have predominantly been worked through in an alphabetical order (based on blog tags), hence why the category “Arts, Crafts, Design and Photography” may be currently looking to be one of the larger categories.
In conclusion I’d like to know, do you think that these 15 categories cover and include all of the important blogs in Australia or do you believe there are some categories I have not yet considered? Are you able to point us to blog lists and directories that compile blogs in these/similar areas? Furthermore, do you believe that the combination of categories is appropriate or should some categories remain uncombined, e.g. should Fashion, Beauty and Style sit in the same category as Food and Beverage?