Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 26 Number 1 2009 pp. 101-127

Chaos Theory as a Lens for Interpreting Blogging

Guo, Xitong, Vogel, Doug, Zhou, Zhongyun, Zhang, Xi, and Chen, Huaping

ABSTRACT: Blogging is becoming increasingly popular as a global phenomenon. Individual blog traffic and blogosphere structure are of interest to academia and practice. Although it is difficult to get a snapshot of the blogosphere with enough blogs over a long enough period to capture the real situation, chaos theory finds underlying order in this apparent random and complex phenomenon. This study provides an overall view of blogging from micro (individual blog traffic dynamics) and macro (blogosphere structure) levels through a chaos theory lens. Key concepts of chaos theory are used to construct an interpretive framework to illustrate blog system behavior dynamics. Blog systems tend to be nonlinear, dynamic, and deterministic, as well as sensitive to initial conditions. The study also demonstrates the feasibility of applying chaos theory thinking to areas such as knowledge management and the recent global financial crisis. Implications for practice and research opportunities are presented.

Key words and phrases: blogging, blogosphere, blogosphere structure, blog traffic, chaos theory, global financial crisis, knowledge management