Survey time

Dr. Lena Karlsson, at the Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden recently contacted me to ask my help in her ongoing academic research into online journals. She said: “Recently, I have become more and more interested in why we read other people’s diaries, what personal needs this reading fulfills. The focus of the research I would like to embark on is then not so much on the production level but on the consumption level. Why do visitors read your online journal? How and when do they read it? Do readers feel that their presence makes an impact? What kind of connection do they feel with you and with other readers?”.
So if you have time, please help her out by filling in the anonymous online survey:

“why/how/when we read online journals – an academic survey”

34 Responses to “Survey time”


    Interesting survey, but I too would have liked a question about what other blogs that we read.


    Just finished answering the survey. I’ve often wondered on this phenomenon of blogging — and people reading. Why does a busy working mom like me get hooked? Maybe she can give me the answers!


    i too just finished the survey, interesting. the question that made me think the most(more about others blogs than yours) was “Have you ever doubted the truthfulness of Claire’s identity “. my answer was definitely no.


    some people think i’m an exhibitionist (because i own a blog) and a pervert (because i read personal blogs)… mmmmm do we need professional advice?


    Loved the survey.
    Just tried to e-mail Lena with a bunch of feedback… but her addy bounced with an ambiguous error.

    Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll post the feedback here… and hopefully she’ll read it.



    What a delightful study… can’t wait to see the results — even if it’s just aggregated survey results.

    A couple of comments:

    QUESTION 4: There should be an option for “Whenever it’s updated (I monitor the site through a third party notification service/technology).” … as that’s how I read it, and so I just answered “A few times a week” because that’s as often as Claire updates the site. I’d read it daily (or even more frequently) if the site had new content that often.

    QUESTION 6: You’re using radio buttons here, so the question should read “What _most_ attracted you…”, otherwise, you should provide the survey taker with check boxes.

    SECTION B: The visual differentiation between “( ) 5” and “( ) don’t know” is not very clear… and every time I clicked “5” or “don’t know” I had to re-read the answer to make sure that I’d checked the right one. My suggestion: put “( ) don’t know” on the next line (using the tag).

    QUESTION 37: I had to completely guess what you meant here… the question is confusing. I couldn’t tell whether you were asking if I set aside time to read blogs, and so went from one blog to reading another… or if you were wondering if I used Claire’s links to other blogs to continue reading… both are true for me, but the former is more true. Thank goodness I could answer in the affirmative and still answer accurately to either understanding of the question.

    QUESTION 42: This is a minor one… but “sex” is something one does, not something one is… perhaps you could re-phrase as “gender”?

    ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Looking at the other questions in the survey, I would submit that two additional questions might prove insightful:

    Q : “When you think of the author of in your mind, how do you refer to her? Do you refer to her by her given name, or by the name of her blog?” and then provide a COMMENTS area.

    Q : As for me, I think of her as “Claire” and her publication as “Loobylu”… I don’t know her outside of her blog, nor do any of my friends, so I’ve had no exposure to her name (either) offline.

    Secondly, I would suggest a follow-up question to questions 31 – 34:

    Q : “What other blogs do you read regularly?”

    I think that this might offer insight into the environment that inhabits in each survey-taker’s world.

    A: As for me, I read the following blogs/community sites each day (or as frequently as they’re updated):

    These are sites that are more informative in nature, and blur the line between blog and serial publication: APOD ESPOD alt.Muslim Living In China Tom Paine Talking Points Memo WatchBlog Ferret Newsletter Utah Politics Morning News, The Manhattan User’s Guide Gothamist Gothamist Weather Apartment Therapy MoCoLoco Cyan Pictures Boing Boing Journal of an Irate Supervisor F* Corporate Groceries Map Room, The Earth Architecture Serco TransArctic Expedition Functioning Form Daring Fireball Web Graphics Boxes & Arrows Signal vs Noise Zeldman Cooltown Studios

    These sites are strictly personal publishing: Andy Budd Anil Dash | Links Ben Hammersley Biz Stone Caroline Claire Robertson Craig Newmark Dan Cederholm Dean Allen EtherF@rm Evan Williams Gabe Anderson Greg Storey Jeffrey Veen Jenny Levine Jeremy Hedley Jon Hicks Joshua Newman José Luis Marika Olsen Matt Kingston Matt Haughey Melanie Goux Mena Trott Michael Heilemann Olivier Travers Paul Bausch Rion Nakaya Scott Andrew Scott Raymond Srijith Witold Riedel Oliver Ryan

    Hope the feedback helps.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments of
    your own.


    Yes, I admit it, I’ve been a lurker for years–I’ve been silently reading since you & Big P were dating.


    I haven’t read the survey but will when I have more time. I think that as social creatures we are just naturally interested in other people. Insight into other people’s lives also gives us something to compare and contrast ourselves against. I think of personal sites as personal documentary. Most of us want to express ourselves and even “tell our story” to a wider audience and in turn we are interested in other people’s stories. Obviously there is more to it than that from individual to individual and there are other needs that are met to varying degrees, but I see that as the starting place.


    for anyone taking the survey that gets an error trying to send it…i am thinking it may be a netscape ( thing. i saved it, and then attached it to an email to the good doctor.


    i am hoping dr. lena shares the results, too!


    While taking the survey, I realized I’ve been reading/lurking your journal for at least 4 years, since you were in DiaryLand. Wow…


    For me, there’s a couple types of blogs that are engrossing. 1) People I like, and 2) People who inspire me. There are others, but those are the two categories. For instance, I like Loobylu because I work from home and am a newer dad, and I am inspired by the work you do and the job mothering you do. I can relate to it. Otherwise it tends to be friends who I read to keep up with, and that’s why I write, to help others keep up even when I’m on my usual anti-social behavior.


    I did the survey and I came away thinking “I guess we are a kind of community”. When you work on your own at home, it is nice to come to somewhere familiar and read the posts and also the comments. Especially nice to see so many other girl geeks in one place.


    Ever wonder why we look at the stars and think maybe out there in the vast empty, we are not alone? Scale that down by a couple light years to our small little blue planet and it becomes apparent that human beings are really just simple creatures who have a need for community. It’s as if we have a need to herd, like flocks of birds or schools of fish. There is a sense of belonging in a community, and a certain comfort knowing that you’re similar and connected to the guy/gal (or fish or bird) next to you. Sure we like to express our individuality every now and then but really, we’re unique just like everyone else. (On a side note, this doesn’t really cheapen individuality, but rather adds little accents to our image and dream of how things, people, thoughts, plots, should be.) Back to my point, its assuring to share experiences, thoughts, ideas and to seek the opinion and voice of others. With the proliferation of computer terminals and networks all over the world we have in a way created our own herd that shares views and values; and from the affirmation, (or debate) of our expressions – we get a sense of connectivity that is unique to blogging with no boundaries. Do I make any sense? LoL.


    and maybe the community created through loobylu takes the place of the failing community outside of our front doors… does anyone else feel that somehow our lives are becoming increasingly isolated? Do communities like loobylu counteract this isolation?


    I admitted to being a lurker, too, and had to think about why I didn’t comment more… And I really didn’t know why. So here I am. I think it’s interesting that someone is making research in our internet reading habits at all!


    For all: It’s a very interesting research. If you have time to answer, go ahead and you’ll learn much more about the fascinanting blog-world… Dr. Lena is a very special person and it was a pleasure to answer the questions. Thanks Claire for the opportunity and I hope that I help you! It’s amazing share informations even so far… I am in Brazil… Good luck! 🙂


    re. katrina’s comment: living in switzerland and not speaking the language makes me feel isolated! i’m far away from the types of communities i would usually (physically)inhabit. so loobylu and other blogs that i read in some loose sense take the place of a physical community -they give me access to other women who are going thru similar experiences. they also make me homesick for places i’ve never lived! (melbourne in particular).


    I did the survey too. I never really thought much as to why I like reading blogs. It was a good survey though and it made me think a bit about my own habits and what I look for in a good blog.


    new reader, but i love filling out surveys! I also have often wondered why we write about our personal stuff (therapy for me) and why the hell i am soo obsessed w/ reading some blogs. I really want to know the results of this study.


    I’m a lurker too, and I really don’t know why I don’t comment, so here’s to good intentions. I wish I’d thought of Dr Lena’s project, it should be fascinating when the results come out. I’ve also come across the survery on other big name blogs. It’s really cool, that we’ve an aussie blog represented.


    I lurk and comment occassionally…Its itneresting, I often wonder where my readers come from on my own blog. I have a stat counter which I sometimes look at but I do wonder why they come back.
    It will be very interesting to see the results for yourself Claire. Id love to do something like this.


    I actually enjoyed that survey because I never thought about my blog reading habits before. I can’t wait to see the results.


    ha ha it’s so beautiful! i had had residual guilt about lurking here on an occassional basis for some years. I realised as time went by that i really expected you to be here and to write, and for it to be beautiful, and that i never wrote anything of substance back to you. so i took the survey really seriously, and thought through all that stuff about you sharing so much, with so much energy and perspective, and me just lapping it up and reflecting back on my own little life, and the survey was enough that i’m clear on it all now. Thankyou, thankyou thankyou, for a personal and reflective creation like this. I read your site when i’m alone too long in front of the computer, it’s a far more real dose of real world than leaving these academic confines for a bit of lunch! So, love to you and I’ll read on (guilt free!) as long as you write


    Sounds like a very interesting survey. I mean, why DO people like reading about others’ personal stuff? At least, as personal as a weblog can actually get…


    not to nit pick or anything, but #40.. the categories aren’t mutually exclusive. You can’t have overlap between the choices. (one choice can’t be 1-2 and another 2-5, because if your answer is 2 there’s ambiguity over which one to choose)

Comments are closed.