Studying Political Communities in VK.com with Network Analysis
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Keywords

virtual communities
echo-chambers
political ideologies
political communication
mediatization
Russia
social media
VK
Gephi
SNA

How to Cite

Bykov, I., & Martyanov, D. (2021). Studying Political Communities in VK.com with Network Analysis. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(1), 64-78. https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i1.144

Abstract

The study explores politicized virtual communities of Russia in the VK.com within the social network analysis approach. The paper focuses on the VK since it is the largest social networking service in Russia. The authors aim to draw a general map of virtual communities in the VK which are politically engaged and represent all political ideologies in Russia. The data were collected with help of the VK API in 2019. Based on the specially designed algorithm, the authors have collected a sample of 115 politicized communities. The paper presents a critical analysis of the implementation of data sampling and crawling. The authors argue that this study includes all significant virtual communities from a full range of ideologically and politically oriented discussion groups to institutionalized political actors such as political parties and government agencies, including groups of leading Russian mass media. The authors apply the Gephi network analysis and visualization software package, a leading social network analysis software, to produce a map of the political virtual communities in Russia. The study indicates that virtual communities of mass media and the institutionalized communities, such as political parties or government institutions, have concentrated at the core of the graph. At the same time, discussion groups about ideologies were in the periphery of the graph.

https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i1.144
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