There's a great nugget buried in the back of the Berkman Center's new study on the Iranian blogosphere. I'm sure their awesome social networking diagram is going to rack up hits across the Western Web this week, and deservedly so, but what I'm really taken with is their ranking of Iran's most highly cited YouTube videos (as of Feb. 2008). The study's general finding is that Iran's blogosphere has a fairly diverse set of views, but they mention that expatriates and secular reformers tend to link in YouTube more often than conservos. Their methodology for the study (and, presumably, the ranking) is at the bottom. But, first, let's get those mothers out the pdf and onto the Web, where they belong.
Berkman provides a translation for the No. 1 hit. Here goes:
The power of love or love of power Modernism versus tradition forever
Living in the evil axis Speed freaks in jalopy taxis
Why feel any pain and suffer When pills and powders' all on offer
Nothing for lunch or dinner to make Then let them eat Yellow Cake
Multiple choice elections left to chance Holy matrimony by loan and finance
Scraped up the very last dime Sent it straight to Palestine
Guaranteed success or money back Underground music or cultural attack
No need for cardiologists Just facelifts by cosmetologists
Immoral zealots, fanatic factions Chinese-style economic expansions
Religious democratic droppings Pizza with Ghormeh Sabzi toppings
Now for the Berkman methodology:
The basis of the social network analysis and blogs selection was a corpus of blog data collected by Morningside Analytics (MA) between July 2007 and March 2008. MA tracks a list of over 200,000 Persian language blogs, built initially from a snowball spidering process. 98,875 of these blogs are monitored daily, with all new text and links recorded to a database. Social networks analysis was used to identify the most active and prominent blogs, the top 6018 of which were mapped to identify the core structures of the Iranian blogosphere, create visualizations, and identify blogs for human and computational text analysis. The map (visualization) of the Iranian blogosphere is plotted using the Fruchterman-Rheingold algorithm, which employs a "physics model" approach in which blogs that are more densely connected are drawn together into clustered "network neighborhoods." The color of the blogs results from "Attentive Cluster Analysis," in which the linking histories of blogs are compared statistically in order to identify groups sharing similar linking preferences. The largest seven attentive clusters corresponded with major structural features of the Iranian blogosphere, and were selected for qualitative study. Smaller clusters were not studied in-depth, though this would be a worthy topic for future analysis.