Polarization in Blogging About the Paris Meeting on Climate Change

  • Dag Elgesem
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10539)


To what extent was the blogging about the recent Paris meeting on climate change polarized? This paper addresses this question by way of a series of analyses of a comprehensive corpus of English language blog posts about the negotiations to reach an agreement to mitigate climate change. We identify two groups of bloggers, the engaged bloggers and the contrarian bloggers and use the contents of their blog posts and the patterns in their linking to sources to characterize and compare the two groups. The paper combines computational methods and manual analyses and uses co-citation networks in an innovative way to characterize and compare the contexts of the linking in the two groups. We address challenges that using computational methods to study polarization in blogs raises. We argue that the ideological profiles of the sources the blogs link to are clear signals of polarization.


Polarization Blogs Climate change Citation networks 


  1. 1.
    Adamic, L.: The social link. In: Turow, J., Tsui, L. (eds.) The Hyperlinked Society, pp. 227–248. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor (2008)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adamic, L., Glance, N.: The political blogosphere and the 2004 election: divided they blog. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Link Discovery, KDD 2005, pp. 36–43 (2005)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bakshy, E., Messing, E., Adamic, L., et al.: Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on facebook. Science 348, 1130–1132 (2015)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    British National Corpus homepage.
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Dunlap, R.E., McCright, M.J.: Organized climate change denial. In: Dryzek, J.S., Norgaard, R.B., Schlosberg, D. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford University Press, New York (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elgesem, D., Steskal, L., Diakopoulos, N.: Structure and content of the discourse on climate change in the blogosphere: the big picture. Environ. Commun. 9(2), 169–188 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Isenberg, D.J.: Group polarization: a critical review and meta-analysis. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 50, 1141–1151 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fiske, S.T., Taylor, S.E.: Social Cognition – from Brains to Culture. SAGE, Los Angeles (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guera, P.H.C., et al.: A measure of polarization on social media networks based on community boundaries. In: Proceedings of the Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (2013)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Himelboim, I., et al.: Birds of a feather tweet together: integrating network and content analyses to examine cross-ideology exposure on Twitter. J. Comput. Mediat. Commun. 18(2), 40–60 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hulme, M.: Why We Disagree About Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lodge, M., Taber, C.S.: Motivated political reasoning. In: The Rationalizing Voter. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2013). (Chapter 7)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    iGraph (2017).
  15. 15.
  16. 16.
    Mann, M.E.: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Columbia University Press, New York (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Salway, A., Elgesem, D., Hofland, K., Reigem, Ø., Steskal, L.: Topically-focused blog corpora for multiple languages. In: Proceedings of the 10th Web as Corpus Workshop (WAC-X) (2016)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sharman, A.: Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere. Glob. Environ. Change 26, 159–170 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sunstein, C.: #republic. Princeton University Press, Princeton (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Turner, J.C., et al.: Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory. Basil Blackwell, New York (1987)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Washingthon, H., Cook, J.: Climate Change Denial. Earthscan, London (2011)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    Yardi, S., Boyd, D.: Dynamic debates: an analysis of group polarization over time on Twitter. Bull. Sci. Technol. Soc. 30(5), 316–327 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations