World Attention in the Information Age: Korea’s National Image

In 1941 Harold Laswell, one of the social scientists whose work led to the creation of communication research as a field of study, wrote a thought-provoking article titled “World Attention Survey.” Laswell’s research tried to map attention patterns around the world by analyzing the content of newspapers, in particular the countries and issues mentioned in newspaper articles. My first book, Television’s Window on the World, was based on my doctoral dissertation and attempted to do something similar with U.S. network television in the 1970s. Today, thanks to the internet and some new Google services, it is possible to do a “World Attention Survey,” with much less manual effort than when Laswell was conducting his research or when I laboriously, with the help of research assistants, hand-coded television content for analysis in my dissertation. To illustrate the possibilities, I will show in this post how Google Insight, its brand-new service, can be used to shed empirical light on the question of Korea’s national or brand image. In an earlier post, I showed how searches of Google News could be used to help analyze Korea’s national image. Google Insight provides an important new piece of the puzzle about national image because it shows patterns of search activity on the internet by people around the world. If you doubt this, take a look at the results of the following global, unfiltered set of searches on Google Insights for Search. Just click on the links to see the results of worldwide search activity, from 2004 to the present, for each of the following terms.

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