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2009 - International Communication Association Pages: 27 pages || Words: 8819 words || 
1. Himelboim, Itai. "Civil Society and Online Political Forums: Network Analysis of 6 Years of Political and Philosophical Discussions in Newsgroups" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott, Chicago, IL, May 20, 2009 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2020-02-25 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This study argues that patterns of computer-mediated social interactions are pivotal to understanding the contribution of the Internet to civil society. It examines – theoretically and empirically – the limitations of free, unrestricted, online social interactions on civil society. Network analysis of 35 newsgroups on politics and philosophy over six years (2001-2006) revealed a power-law degree distribution, a highly unequal distribution of replies among discussion participants. Furthermore, the extent to which the distribution is skewed increased with size. The larger and more active a newsgroup, the more disproportionate the distribution of replies and the more unlikely most participants to attract attention to messages they posted. These patterns of communication work against some of the cornerstones of civil society: equality, informed citizenry and diversity of channels for associations.

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