Hey, hey, hey. You know your are gaining in influence when the academics start poking at you with a stick. A Brown University researcher has just published a paper titled Black Bloggers and the Blogosphere.

From the release:

In the first scholarly research examining the role of black bloggers in the blogosphere, Brown University researcher Antoinette Pole assessed how bloggers of color use their medium for purposes related to politics. She found that black bloggers are, in fact, mobilizing readers to engage in political participation. Additionally, Pole found that black bloggers do not feel discriminated against or excluded by other bloggers. These findings appear in the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society.

Other notable excerpts:

“Though they are less numerous, examining the role of minorities in the blogosphere is important if blogs are being used to engage in political discourse and discussion, and more importantly, political action that has real-world implications,” Pole said.

Exactly. Our society tends to embrace new tools, whether of technology, economics or politics, often without considering who truly uses and benefits from those tools. We all know that the online medium, and blogging, are becoming important tools of civic engagement and influence. Are black people on board? Pole seems to think so.

Based on in-depth interviews with 20 black bloggers conducted in November 2005, Pole’s study found that 85 percent of respondents use their blogs to engage in political advocacy and to raise money for charitable causes. A majority of the bloggers said they encouraged their readers to vote or to register to vote; 40 percent of the bloggers asked their readers to contact elected officials… [snip]

I haven’t read the full report yet, just the release. I’m curious about the small sample size (20) and the timing of the interviews (Nov 2005). The Internet moves fast, and I think a lot may have changed since the initial research was done. The author does warn that this is just an exploratory study. We can look forward to being poked with more sticks in the future. :)

While you can purchase an electronic copy of the full report at the IJTKS website, our good friends at Google Scholar provide it for free. Go Internet!

Would love to hear responses from our readers and some coverage from other black political bloggers about this study, what it gets right, what’s missing, were you involved?

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