Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:50 | SYDNEY
Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:50 | SYDNEY

Networks and Kevin Bacon


Sam Roggeveen


11 June 2009 18:43

Congratulations to Fergus for putting on a first-class New Voices conference today. Every year we invite a bunch of high-achieving young Australians to discuss a broad topic relevant to the Institute's work, and this year the theme was networks.

As part of a terrific panel discussion, I gave a short talk about blog networks. My experience has been that, although the audience for The Interpreter is gradually growing, our influence is constrained by the fact that there are very few other blogs operating in the same areas we focus on.

If The Interpreter was a print publication, this would actually be a good thing, since it would mean we have a monopoly on the audience. But the way to build an influential blog is to be talked about on other blogs — Technorati, the most widely cited blog aggregator, ranks blogs according to the number of other blogs that link to it.

So to increase the influence of The Interpreter, it is better to have more blogs in our 'issue space' rather than try to crowd out competition. That way, if The Interpreter is good enough, it becomes a hub in the network, cited by others and setting the agenda.

Also on the panel was documentary maker Annamaria Talas, who has made a movie about network science and who patiently explained that my discussion of blog networks and hierarchies is a very commonplace example of what happens in networks of all kinds. Here's a clip from Annamaria's film about networks, 'How Kevin Bacon cured cancer'. (UPDATE: Annamaria emails to tell me her film will be broadcast on ABC2 on Wednesday, 29 July at 10.20pm.)

Photo by Flickr user IpO, used under a Creative Commons license.