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Doctoral StudentAmerican Politics
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Abe Gong studies social systems using a mix of computational and traditional methods. His dissertation taps one of the richest sources of political data in all history - the political blogosphere - in order to better understand political communication. Unlike most forms of communication, blogging leaves a permanent data trail. Archives of thousands of political blogs exist online, complete with text, dates, links, and comments. This project taps this wealth of social data using a combination of techniques from social and computer science: survey research, content analysis, web crawling, and automated text classification. Together, these tools enable Abe to better explain the blogosphere, and political participation.
Abe finds that classic theories of political participation predict bloggers' behavior remarkably well - political blogging is a form of activism. Conversely, Abe is able to break new theoretical ground by studying tone of discourse, topics, and timing of participation in the political blogosphere. Difficult to observe in other contexts, these aspects of blogging shed light on timeless elements of human interaction: attention, opinion, disagreement, persuasion, and participation.
5700 Haven Hall505 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI