Mapping Iran’s Blogosphere on Election Eve

John Kelly and Bruce Etling share their study about Iran's blogosphere and election on the internet and democracy blog. Internet and democracy is the team blog for the internet and democracy project in Berkman Center for Internet & Society in Harvard.


Based on our monitoring of the Iranian blogosphere on election eve, it looks like Mousavi has broader support in the online blog community than Ahmadinejad. (For a broader understanding of the different attentive clusters in Iran check out our new online interactive Iran blogosphere map). The below maps show who is linking to websites associated with the candidates. It’s pretty interesting to see the contrast between Ahmadinejad, whose links are very concentrated in the Conservative Politics cluster, and Mousavi, whose links come from all over the map, not just the reformist politics group.



We are particularly struck by how many links come from the poetry cluster, which rarely links to political sites. Also, Moussavi has even more links from the CyberShi’a than Ahmadinejad.

This online interest doesn’t necessarily translate to the offline world, but it may indicate a broader level of excitement about Mousavi in the electorate, particularly among those outside his expected base of supporters, which could ultimately lead to higher voter turn out for Mousavi.

As Hamid Tehrani wrote earlier this week, YouTube is being used a lot by Iranians in this election. Here is one of the YouTube videos most linked to by reformists.

And here is the video most linked to by conservatives, which Hamid pointed to earlier in the week as an example of conservatives trying to discredit Khatami, who has supported Mousavi since he dropped out of the race himself.

Iran experts caution against trying to predict election winners Iran (because we’ve been surprised before), and we’d caution against predicting a Mousavi win just on this analysis, but it is certainly interesting to see the larger level of online support for Mousavi on the eve of the election. We’ll have to leave it to the voters at this point.

Some additional data and analysis on Iran’s election eve blogosphere is posted on Morningside Analytics Shifting the Debate blog. You can also catch an interview and find all of Hamid Tehrani’s posts on the Internet and the Iranian election on the PBS Web site.

Check back here next week for the big release of our Arabic blogosphere paper and accompanying event at USIP.


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