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Survey SAYS

Thanks to all of you for participating the survey questions I posed last month about blogging. There were a few things revealed that I didn’t expect — one being that respondents (n=100) came from 11 countries on 5 continents.

What?? No Antarctica?

I asked a non-representative sample of bloggers (we all know this community is a cut above) questions regarding:

  • the relationship between the amount of time and energy you put into the post and the amount of attention it generates
  • whether you are a net giver or receiver of comments
  • the tendency for bloggers to have kept a diary or journal
  • which comes first, the title or the post?

So what did we learn?

1. Relationship between time and energy into creating a post and the response to that post:

  • 26% reported a direct relationship (more effort = more response).
  • 58% of you say there’s no relationship between the energy you put into a post and the response it garners.
  • 16% reported an inverse relationship (more effort = less response and vice versa).

One respondent said: Sometimes posts that I took enormous pains over sank without trace. Sometimes posts I dashed off (usually in a temper) garnered dozens of comments. And sometimes, vice versa. I still don’t quite understand it.

And this comment is quite insightful: It seems to be more the amount of EMOTION and energy, rather than time and energy.

Bottom line for a 84% of us? Don’t try so hard!

2. Comments, giving and getting:

  • 19% of you lament that you give waaay more than you get
  • 34% say you give more than you get, but that it’s not outrageously out of balance
  • 27% consider yourselves even-steven
  • 15% of you confess you get more than you give, but that it’s not terribly imbalanced
  • 5% of you admit you get waaay more than you give

So more than half of you are net givers but only 20% of you are net getters. Hmmmmm…..

This comment both helps to explain the anomaly and to dismiss it: My blog is quite small, and the number of blogs I follow is larger, so I think at times I definitely give more comments than I get, but hey, who’s counting?

Suggestion: Check out the monthly ICLW for an organized commentathon.

3. Journaling as a precursor to blogging:

  • 77% say you had never faithfully journaled or kept a diary prior to blogging
  • 23% say you considered yourselves a journaler or diarist before embarking on your blogs.

This result surprised me. Not that more people didn’t journal, but that so MANY more people didn’t journal.  When I asked this same question back in 2008, the results were statistically even.

Because of my own experience, I thought there would be a stronger tie between a childhood habit of keeping a diary and an adult habit of writing a blog. Color me oddball.

Representative comments: I only journaled during certain periods of my life. Usually when things were more stressful and I had a lot to deal with.      And      I never maintained a diary or journal even though I set out to multiple times throughout my life.

4. Which comes first: title or post?

  • Only 5% of you say the title comes first
  • 36% of you write the post first and then title it
  • And 59% say it’s 50-50; sometimes it’s the title first and sometimes it’s the post

Among the 5%: It’s the blank at the top. Therefore, I fill it in first.   And   Some titles are too delicious to waste.

Among the 36%: The title is the hardest thing for me to write.

Among the majority: Sometimes the title is in my head first or becomes clear as I’m writing; other times the title I had in mind doesn’t fit when I’m done. Sometimes I can’t ever think of what to title something.

Any surprises in the findings for you? In which questions might you be somewhat freakish in the minority?

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

10 Responses

  1. That’s quite informative! I agree that the posts that seem to be ‘dashed off’ are the ones that seem to get more responses.

    Thanks for this 🙂 It makes me feel that my writing style (title/post first, energy put in, etc) is not completely weird 🙂

    Have a great Monday!! *hugs*

  2. The only response that really surprised me was the first one. I sometimes, okay, I usually spend way too much time on posts, especially when I’m inculding pics and I want to get them just so. I should try to not try so hard and see what happens. Thanks for posting and sharing this, it’s very informative.

  3. I was wondering if the number of those of us who said we didn’t get as many comments as we gave would equal those of us who felt they got more than they give. Of course not everyone is answering this survey but still, you’d expect it to be more equal. I too have a smaller following on my blog than blogs that I read. I have about 10 people that comment pretty consistently and I almost always comment on their posts, plus I comment on the posts of a good two dozen other blogs pretty regularly, so I know I give more than I get. But that is okay. Commenting is fun in it’s own right and I like to be a part of the conversation, even if my own posts don’t inspire as much conversation themselves.

  4. Esperanza was recently cited by multiple readers as one of the best commenters around. Just thought I’d throw that out there 😉

    Most of this is fascinating to me. I definitely thought most bloggers were journal writers. I’m not: I only ever wrote a terribly pretentious and cringeworthy travel journal when I backpacked through Europe. (Sample entry: “The Louvre is an important repository of art, but they should rethink the way they display their sculptures.” Barf.)

    And you are dead on about emotion=more response. The pieces I got the most comments on were usually written quickly in the heat of the moment. And most were rants. I once painstakingly wrote this really cerebral post with all sorts of metaphors and fancy words. It took me probably 10 hours. It got no comments. It was probably about as pretentious and pukey as my travel journal, but I liked it.

    Really fascinating. Thanks for doing this!

  5. I am shocked that more people didn’t journal when they were younger. Seriously. Wow.
    I also totally agree that the posts that I spend sooooo much time on tend to be total duds but when I write from an emotional place people connect (comment) more.

  6. The Communications major in me was salivating reading this post. I love stats like this, and it’s fantastic you have data from 2008 to compare it with. I also find most folks didn’t journal before blogging, but perhaps we’re seeing the greater influx of later millennials who may not have grown up with “paper” journals but lept right into online platforms. Fascinating stuff. Thanks Lori!

  7. thanks for the survey, very interesting.
    i am totally surprised that such a high percentage never kept a journal. i journalled throughout high school and college and after, and stopped only after i started blogging..

    it’s interesting that many people feel they give more comments than they receive -it makes me feel better that i’m not the only one that happens to! as for your comment on joining ICLW -yes, that is exactly why i do join it! but it always saddens me that as soon as the week is over, i’m back to zero comments!!

  8. I really enjoyed reading these results! Thanks for sharing them.

    I’m one of the 5% that title first, and the first comment sums it up for me exactly, ‘it’s blank at the top.’ However, sometimes that backfires, and I drift into something that has nothing to do with the original title. I’ll either rewrite if I like the title, or retitle and save it for another post.

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