What do you hope to learn?
By asking a variety of questions — about Internet usage patterns, opinions on Internet filtering and regulatory policy, the impact of Internet surveillance and soft content control, blogger perceptions of risk associated with online publishing, the incidence of legal and extra-legal threats to bloggers, the impact of filtering on access to information and blogger knowledge and use of circumvention technologies — we hope to tap into the knowledge and experience of some of the world’s most active Internet users, to compare Internet practices around the world, and to study the impact of different Internet environments on online behavior, including in countries where the free exchange of opinions can be a risky proposition.
How are bloggers selected for the surveys?
Blogging Common researchers have created a large sample of blogs using a tool called Spinn3r that indexes RSS feeds around the Web. We then assess the sample to identify those that meet our criteria for the study. The owners of these sites are then sent an invitation to participate in our survey.
How do you contact bloggers?
Our researchers first attempt to find a contact e-mail address on each blog. If an e-mail address cannot be found, we then attempt to contact the blog owner via a contact form or in the comments section of one of his or her blog posts.
How do you ensure the privacy and safety of respondents?
Survey responses are not private (in that they are linked to a specific blog), but we do keep responses confidential. Responses will never be publicly linked with a specific blog URL. Bloggers who need to remain anonymous for safety reasons can provide us with as much or as little information as they want.
How can bloggers get involved?
If you haven’t been contacted for participation in one of our surveys, have no fear: you can still get involved with the project. Learn more about how to participate.
What types of questions do you plan to ask in the future?
There are lots of things we want to learn from bloggers across a variety of topics, including politics, usage of web tools, media and online privacy. We’re also very open to ideas from the public, so if you have a great idea for our next survey, please let us know.
Why only English-language bloggers?
Eventually, we plan to expand our survey to other languages — our next step is to engage the Arabic and Russian blogospheres. For now, we’re sticking with English because it’s the most accessible language to us.