Thursday, 29 January 2009

Partial Survey Results: Readership And How They Interact

Thanks to everyone that's taken the SurveyMonkey survey I put up last week, there are preliminary results already, enough to spot a few trends.  (Please note that the survey is still open, these are only preliminary results and you are invited to participate.)

My average reader is more likely (almost 2/3) to be a woman, all my readership is between the ages of 30 and 60, over half are bloggers, blog readers, read the comments, and a few contribute comments.  So comments are a valuable part of the blog.  (This to satisfy myself of the validity of my take on this article at Laurel Papworth's blog.)

Commentary: It's been apparent for some time that there are more women than men online, and the age group is just about right.  The fact that so far I've had 100% in the one age group indicates that this group is the most prominent in the readership, and I don't see that changing for a while yet.

Between one third and one half of the people who have so far responded to the survey, (remember you can still follow the links to the survey and participate, it isn't closed yet,) are Twitter users.  In the interests of brevity I didn't ask for twitternames or statistics so it's unclear if they are big users or irregulars such as myself.

Commentary: People who read blogs are socially active online.  You'll get discussed.  At least one of my respondents is also a close personal friend.  So remember that if you post.  Once, a reader would tell the people around her in real life what you said - now she is likely to discuss it with a sizeable portion of your readership and potential readership all over the Internet... 

What is for sure though is that half my respondents read one of my Twitterfeed microposts on Twitter and came to articles through that, while a small percentage (< 20%) saw links on other blogs.  That last figure might be improved if I had more links back on other blogs, but in general I don't get that much link love.  (Well, one of my respondents has apparently linked to one of my posts, but in general my articles have not been reposted, retweeted, or otherwise disseminated by the respondents of the survey.  But I know from experience that a few people have done this, so they have probably not responded to the survey yet.)

Commentary: Just bears me out - there is a LOT more social interaction and not always will you catch that in a survey, it's something you have to judge from snippets and conversations with people as you socialise with your readership and potential readership online.  

A few of my readers have been longtime readers (more than two years) and the rest split evenly between being recent (in the last year) and medium-recent (two years) age.  Not too many people use feed readers to read my blog (although the recently absorbed-by-Googleborg FeedBurner says I do have about half my readership using feed readers) and half check back manually from time to time or use Twitter and those Twitterfeed microposts to see when something new has happened.

Commentary: This is about as I'd expect it to be - I put on a bit of a readership drive from time to time by posting far and wide, begging, doing tricks for crumbs of attention, and so forth... %)  It generally nets a few hundred people, of whom two or three will hang around for longer.

Almost all the respondents indicated that they used the Internet as a source of news and articles, meaning blog posts get added in there as sources of news, right between hard news and diarist columns depending I guess on your blog's slant.

Commentary: Did you get this?  you are regarded as a source of news.  That means you have a bit of a responsibility to act semi responsibly at least some of the time.  At the very least, remember that your post will be discussed in some places where you flat-out didn't expect to see them, and it could be embarassing / unfortunate / legally vexing or some combination of those...  %)

So there you have it - the average readership is likely to be a woman in her 30's or so, who has a 50% chance of being a blogger, a much lower chance of contributing a comment (so a very silent majority) and whom you probably know through Twitter.  They will have stumbled across you by word of mouth, and be following your posts by RSS or directly looking at the site from time to time.

If you haven't responded yet, please do go to the SurveyMonkey survey and fill out the statistics a little more.

Commentary: Please also bear in mind that these are readers of my suite of blogs and may not reflect accurately the readership of a magazine style or news style blog with a writing staff and editorial staff - this is a one person operation here and I can't generate the sheer volume that some of those sites can, nor can I afford to stay as single-specific-area focused as such sites are, and therefore the results are extremely likely to be different.

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