I want to thank everyone who participated in my Blag Hag 2010 Census! 467 people filled out the survey (before I closed it due to eagerness to crunch the numbers), which is absolutely amazing. I was expecting something like 50, but I guess you guys like data just as much as I do. Considering that I have slightly over 1000 subscribers (holy crap!), we did almost as well as voter turnout for the US Presidential elections! Feel special, or maybe depressed, depending how you interpret that.
Because I got a decent sample size, I actually felt safe doing some statistics and trying to interpret the results. Now, as a warning, it’s been a couple of years since I took a statistics class. It is highly probable that I screwed something up, that there was a more appropriate test to use, that one of the first five commenters will correct me, etc. I think we can see some interesting trends here, but it’s no scientific study. Also keep in mind these results don’t necessarily apply to atheists as a whole, just the atheists who read my blog and like to take surveys. Take it with a grain of salt!
Before we get started, here is how I indicated statistical significance on graphs:
* P-value less than 0.05
** P-value less than 0.01
*** P-value less than 0.001
**** P-value less than 0.0001
As always, click the images for a larger, nicer version.
We had 335 males, 135 females, and 7 transgendered readers. This actually surprised me a bit. As you can see, male readers vastly outnumber my female ones. People always ask “Where are the female atheists?” and I usually reply “We’re out here!” I know a lot of female atheists aren’t outspoken enough to want to go to club meetings or be visible, but I would have thought there would be more equal ratios on a blog written by a female atheist that often talks about feminism. My ladies are still drastically outnumbered!
I have a couple of hypotheses.
- Females hate filling out surveys (unlikely)
- Male atheists currently do, in fact, outnumber female atheists.
- Male atheists currently tend to read blogs more than female atheists.
- My blog is new, so more females haven’t found it yet.
- This is a better sex ratio than other blogs. Who knows, maybe blogs like Pharyngula and Friendly Atheist have a 9:1 ratio.
Oh, and to my transgendered readers who thanked me for including that option, you’re welcome! Can’t forget you guys. Though I am going to apologize now – most of my analyses look for differences in responses between males and females, and your sample size was too small to work for any of my statistics. Sorry! Please don’t take it personally.
Not surprising that most of my readers fall close to my own age (22). The one bit that surprised me was that I was expecting to have a grand total of two readers over the age of 30. Nothing against my older readers – I just still feel very young and immature in many respects, and I was surprised that so many “adults” would enjoy my blog. So, thank you! There we no difference in the age distribution of males and females.
Now, onto the cool stuff!
I think this result was so cool because it didn’t surprise me. Many studies (and anecdotes) point to females having more fluid sexual orientations and more bisexual tendencies. Our results follow that pretty nicely, with the vast majority of guys considering themselves exclusively heterosexual. Or at least, that’s how they reported their sexual orientation on the survey. Who knows how honest people are even when it’s anonymous.
Oh, and one fun observation: My friends who responded tend to be gayer than my readership as a whole. I think I’m a bad influence on people. Maybe we should see how that chart changes once I get another year to
Favorite open responses:
- “Science nerd” – The best sexuality ever.
Here readers were allowed to respond with as many answers as they wanted, hence the use of percentage instead of raw numbers. Unsurprisingly, “atheist” was the most common choice. The popular choices seem to be the positive labels – skeptic, humanist, secularist, freethinker – with terms with negative connotations not doing so well. And this supports my opinion that “Bright” comes off as a kind of douchey label that not many non-theists like, since it came in last.
The gender differences here are interesting. Men are significantly more likely to call themselves skeptics, freethinkers, and anti-theists. Anti-theists sort of makes sense, since I think some men are more likely to be aggressive and in your face about things (this does not mean aggressive female anti-theists don’t exist). The other two completely baffle me, though. Women aren’t using skeptic as much, even with the delightful pun of the Skepchicks? And…I have no idea about freethinker. Feel free to come up with your own hypotheses in the comments.
Another interesting thing to note is that men tended to list more labels for themselves than women did. Men used an average of 4.4 labels with a variance of 9.3, and women used an average of 3.7 levels with a variance of 5.7 (p less than 0.01). Of course, this could entirely be from the couple of terms that men like to use a lot more than women.
Favorite open responses:
- “Belief challenged”
- “Human” – Two people said this, I liked it!
- “Depends on my mood and whether I want to be annoying”
- “Too lazy to be a secular humanist” – Ditto
- “Shiny?” – I don’t know, are you shiny? Do we have a Twilight vampire amongst us?
Moral of the story: get PZ to link to your blog repeatedly. Seriously though, it seems being linked to by other respected, popular blogs is the best way to get new readers and to retain them. To put this in perspective, Reddit usually gives me as many hits as a Pharyngula or Friendly Atheist plug, but those people don’t tend to stick around. Getting linked to by a great blog is a level of quality control, since that blogger is saying that they like your stuff.
I wasn’t expecting to see any differences here, but there they are! Is this because Pharyngula does have more of a male bias? And what’s up with the ladies liking Google Reader suggestions so much? I have no idea, but thank you, Google Reader!
Favorite open responses:
- “Girlfriend read occasional blog posts to me” – Aw, oddly sort of cute/cool!
- “Divine Ordinance, a.k.a. Holy Handgrenade (I don’t remember. Shhh..don’t tell Jen)” – Divine Ordinance is an acceptable answer.
Women like posts on feminism a lot more than men – absolutely shocking! You guys better learn to love them, because they’re not going anywhere, haha. On the flip side, I have no idea why men like posts about me attending local atheist and theist events more than women. Hmmm, maybe because I tend to post a lot of photos when I go…
Other than that, the topics don’t surprise me. Politics is my least favorite topic to blog about since I don’t feel as well read in that area, and apparently my readers don’t love it either (not that they hate it, just that it’s not a favorite topic). Everything else I enjoy blogging about equally, and readers seem to enjoy them equally. Lesson: write about what you like!
Favorite open responses:
- “Reading about Jen’s boobs” – Got this from multiple people, almost all of them from my friends. Can’t exactly get annoyed, since I am the one writing about my boobs (seriously though, thought this was funny)
- “The review of those wretched sex scenes were read aloud at a party I threw. Good stuff.” – This is made of ultimate win.
A lot of the free responses said that they loved the blog the way it was and to not feel like I needed to drastically change anything to improve. I didn’t consider this question an ultimatum or some drastic overhaul. I mainly wanted to know if 1. I should increase the attention I put on certain things that I already enjoy doing or 2. if I should start doing things I was thinking about doing. A couple of things:
- Apparently you guys like my art! Thanks! It’s something I always want to do more of, but a piece of artwork takes something like 6 hours, compared to a short bout of writing. You’ll probably see a lot more art this summer, when I’ll have a lot of free time.
- On the flip side, you guys don’t care about me making any money. Sadness. A gal’s gotta eat, you know.
- I’ve avoiding rigid Daily features (like PZ’s Friday Cephalopod) mainly because that takes planning and I’m lazy. However, I may start doing a “List of all the random cool stuff I saw this week but didn’t have enough of an opinion to blog about it” thing. But with a better title. Anyway, I amass awesome links on Google Reader, so it wouldn’t be too hard to post them here.
- Yeaaah, don’t hold your breath on the videoblogging. I don’t own a webcam/videocamera and I hate watching myself on video. Oh, and apparently Australians have a raging hate-on for videoblogging since their internet service is so shitty, as multiple responders explained. Don’t want to ostracize my readers down under!
Oh, and of course “More sexy pirate outfit photos” did really well, with men wanting them a lot more. Mind blowing. Maybe I can combine that with community building and contests, and make you send me sexy pirate photos of yourself! Much better than photos of me, right? …Right?
I’m saving the final open response suggestions for the next post, since this post is already getting massive enough. What do you guys think of these findings? Have any comments or hypotheses? Do you have any other things you want me to look at (if certain terms are correlated with each other, etc)? Just let me know, and I’ll crunch some more numbers! Data is fun!