The Prevalence of Political Discourse in Non-Political Blogs

Sean A Munson, Paul Resnick
ICWSM 2011

Though political theorists have emphasized the importance of political discussion in non-political spaces, past study of online political discussion has focused on primarily political websites. Using a random sample from Blogger.com, we find that 25% of all political posts are from blogs that post about politics less than 20% of the time, because the vast majority of blogs post about politics some of the time but infrequently. Far from being taboo topics in those nonpolitical blogs, political posts got slightly more comments than non-political posts in those same blogs, and the comments overwhelmingly engage the political topics of the post, mostly agreeing but frequently disagreeing as well. We argue that non-political spaces devoted primarily to personal diaries, hobbies, and other topics represent a substantial place of online political discussion and should be a site for further study.