What do readers think of this blog? Results of audience survey

March 19, 2010

     By Duncan Green     

Executive wonku (see below):
Lots of folk like it
but want fights, shorter posts and
more southern voices

Wow. As promised here are the results of the online survey of users of this blog, crunched by the amazing elves in Oxfam’s market research department. Just as well, as the response was far greater than I ever anticipated – 266 completed questionnaires, and a pile of really useful suggestions. In the spirit of transparency etc etc, here are the summary powerpoint and full collection of comments. Happy digging.

Here’s the headlines, plus my running commentary. And please remember throughout that this is a self-selecting sample of ‘people with time and willingness to fill in surveys’, and so may not fully represent the monumental indifference of the full range of readers. First, the stats

Who reads it (and answers surveys)? The top 3 types of blog reader are

‘Academic/students’ (28%), ‘other (i.e. non Oxfam) NGO staff’ (22%) and ‘other’ (18%). The ‘other’ responses were generally consultants and researchers. Oxfam staff make up 16% of the blog readership. The male/female split is 54/46, (more balanced than I feared, given heavy male bias of bloggers on development).

Main age range of respondents is 25-34.

Most of you read the blog 1-3 times a week (52%) or more than 4 times a week (34%).

78% of you describe the blog as ‘very useful’ or ‘slightly useful’. Why did the rest of you bother to take the survey? And as for the 1% who find it ‘not useful at all’, I think you three saddoes need to think about how you spend your time.

The majority of readers (81%) think that the amount I blog at the moment is ‘about right’ and (74%) think that it is successful in ‘provoking debate and conversation about development issues’.

You prefer ‘original articles’ (1.61), ‘summaries of other research’ (2.68) and ‘summaries of Oxfam research’ (3.5) more than other post topics. Thought so – the more work required from me, the more you like it. Sadists.

The other blogs you read are Chris Blattman, Aid Watch and Owen Barder. However 12.7% of YOU only read the FP2P blog (check out the blogroll to the right, guys – it’s worth it).

And some of the most useful comments?

1. The posts are too long! Sorry folks, will try and do some shorter ones, but also a very good suggestion to provide a one sentence summary of the main ‘takeaway’ at the top of the longer pieces. I might even do it as a wonku – see top of this post.

2. More voices and experiences from the South. Yep, you’re right. Except when I travel (and I’m off to Vietnam next week, so expect some stuff from there), it’s all a bit too DFID, World Bank, northern academic and Oxfam HQ in tone. Could readers please help by pointing me to the best alternative sources? And you NGO-ers, I’m looking to you for some help with this. Ditto for volunteers and suggestions for guest bloggers, especially from the South.

3. I should a) be more controversial and b) respond to comments. There are limits on my willingness to pick fights, however entertaining, partly due to my wimpy temperament and partly by this being an Oxfam-hosted blog (though not always an on-message one). Responding to comments is always a good idea, it’s just the time issue, but I will try and be more interactive in future (maybe I can use the time freed up by writing shorter posts).

4. Excavating the archive a bit more: people want to be able to explore past content, what’s been most popular etc. Will talk to blogmaster Eddy about that and a number of the other technical suggestions and beefs.

5. Translate it into Spanish? No need – my opposite number at Oxfam Intermon in Spain, Gonzalo Fanjul, is up and blogging (and is much cleverer and funnier than I could ever be)

As for the person who wants me to provide ‘more critical analysis of OGB material’ – nice try, but it ain’t gonna happen on this blog. Sorry.

An enormous thanks to everyone who took the time to fill it in – I will do my best to make it worth your while by listening to the suggestions. Starting with today’s executive wonku. But not the short post. Sorry.

March 19, 2010
Duncan Green