I was happily surprised by last year's blog reader survey. This year's survey continues the trajectory of happy surprises.
Last year, we got 17,159 responses. This year, 30,079 blog readers responded.
Last year, 61% of responding blog readers were over 30 years old. This year, 75% are over 30 years old.
Last year, 40% had family incomes greater than $90,000. This year, 43% exceed that figure.
Year over year, some figures are remarkably stable. One reader in five is a blogger. As was the case last year, exactly 1.7% are CEOs. Almost the same number (44%) spend more than $500 for air tickets. 86% purchased music online, last year and this. Last year, 79% were men. This year, 75% are men.
The most interesting news comes in section 8. Aficionados of PR-speak will recognize these questions as benchmark
tests to identify who is an opinion maker, a member of the ten percent of Americans who are believed to set the agenda
and steer the opinions of the other 90%. To qualify as an official "influential," RoperASW, the leading firm
consulting in the field, you have to answer 3 of those questions (excluding a petition) in the affirmative. Clearly the blogosphere is crawling with certified grade A opinion makers. (When we can get SurveyMonkey's filtering software to behave properly, we'll be able to tell you exactly how many.)
How much credence should you give this survey? The survey was designed as much to provoke as to prove. I'll
paraphrase what I wrote last year: the survey's responses are a fragment of a sample of a subset. There are millions of bloggers. Last week I e-mailed roughly 100 of them -- some of the biggest bloggers, many of whom focus on politics and/or sell blogads -- suggesting they link to they survey. Some of the bloggers I wrote to (and some I didn't) linked to the survey; some of their readers clicked; some were offended by questions written mostly for Americans; some aspiring respondents were unable to complete Surveymonkey's sometimes buggy forms. So wield a salt shaker as you munch on this data.
But remember also that the blogosphere is all about biases and conversations and boot-strapping and not waiting for some authority-- a newspaper editor or university dean or foundation officer or venture capitalist or government agent -- to tell you something but figuring it out yourself, and, finally, about sharing fragments of imperfect data with peers to arrive at some useful collective knowledge.
As Trent Lott and Howell Raines learned, the blogosphere's numerous voices can capture and amplify ideas that are too complex or contrary for traditional organizations to see or speak. (This year, we can add Howard Dean, Dan Rather, George Bush, Eason Jordan and Jeff Gannon to the list of public figures rerouted by bloggers.)
Soon bloggers who directed readers to the survey will get their own breakouts to use or share. And more survey results -- breakouts by party affiliation and other metrics -- coming next week.
March 12, 2005