Reader survey report 2012


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The results of a survey Doug Belshaw administered to volunteer readers of his blog ( in January 2012.

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Reader survey report 2012

  1. 1. 2012READERSURVEY
  2. 2. ContentsIntro! 3Results! 5Gender! 6Improving my blog! 21Analysis! 28Conclusion! 31Appendix! 33Image credits! 34 2
  3. 3. IntroI’ve been blogging since 2005. What started off asa blog specifically about teaching has morphed intoan armorphous collection of posts which looselybranded as ‘education, technology andproductivity’ but which, in reality, also coversdesign, politics, sociology, leadership and whateverI’ve last been reading.As an educator and doctoral student I’m a greatbeliever in the importance of feedback to improveperformance. Whilst blogging is certainly not acompetition, I do have an audience which I’d like togrow and serve better. Absent my own classroom Iconsider my blog a place where I do someteaching. The great thing about that teaching isthat I’m learning at the same time.Early in January 2012 I was inspired by completinga blog reader survey on Michael Hyatt’s blog( to create my own. Minewas less ambitious and detailed than his, partly to 3
  4. 4. keep it short, and partly because SurveyMonkey’sfree accounts only allow for ten questions!In total, 136 people completed the circle which wasavailable on my blog for one week. To give thatsome perspective, as I write this around 1,300people subscribe to updates via RSS or email andaround 6,000 unique visitors per month.The results fascinated me.* Read on to find outwhy!*Although I quote some of the free text entry inputted by readers, Ido not identify them in this report by name. Those names that doappear are mentioned by readers (and are people I consider friends). 4
  5. 5. ResultsBefore diving into what I think your responsesmean I want to present the quantitative elementsin the simplest way possible.The next few pages show the demographicinformation gleaned from the survey along withdetails such as where readers found out about myblog, how long they have been reading it, and howthey find out when I publish new blog posts. 5
  6. 6. Gender Other Female Male 6
  7. 7. Age 0-18 19-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+ 0 10 20 30 40 50 7
  8. 8. Location Australasia Asia North America Europe 8
  9. 9. If you work in education, which sectordescribes you best? School College (Further Education)University (Higher Education) Other 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 9
  10. 10. (Misc.) Former teacher, have own business - clients oftenSupply Teacher in education GovernmentAdult basic education ...literacy GovernorSeconded teacher now with Govt. agency inteacher training in ICT non-traditional/ online curriculum deliveryAssociation/professional society Leadership development[College] but mainly HE in FE Current Information Studies PhD StudentCommunity College Local Authority (Schools sector)Retired Primary Headteacher research studentCounty Office of Education [University] And SchoolHealthcare (Communications within HE)teaching college students about information and special primaryinformation literacy Corporateefl teacher and trainer 10
  11. 11. How did you first Twitterfind out about my Searchblog? Link off another blogYou told me about it...I am your sister in law! through twitterInternet search Through twitterDont recall TwitterSearched your name Via Eylan Ezekiel and TeachMeetCant remember! No doubt via someone else; Through Twitterthough quite who that was is anyones guess! From TwitterGoogle+ Dont remember.Co-worker sent me a link to a post I think a blogroll or maybe twitterDont remember Twitterstumbled onto it 11
  12. 12. It is so long ago I cant remember! Have followed since the MrBelshaw days after coming across the ed tech talk podcasts - probablyTwitter 3ish years ago?Following you on Twitter after meeting at a probably stephen downes, but certainly a link fromTeachMeet someone elses blog to a post here that interested me at the time (though cant remember what itTwitter was)Twitter link from Tom Barratt Via twitterDont know, been reading for years, probably Twitterfollowed a link Through a comment on a blog I was following.Twitter GoogleDont recall...ran across it somehow =) Quoted in some other education email I received.Radio podcast posts of interestRecommendation twitterStumbleUpon Dont recall er 12
  13. 13. From your Twitter updatesTwitter via twitterMy wife was given a load of resources from Roy (?) Via twitterHuggins. Your work was included on the harddrive - a quick Google search lead me to Via TwitterTwitter Referenced from another, several years ago. Sorry,twitter cant remember!By following you on Twitter! cant recallWhen I was training in 2007/08. It was linked Retweet of someone I followed on Twitter.from a website comment somewhere. Via twitterpersonal contact via the school history forumFrom another blogger Twitter!Difficult to recall: Ive been following, on & offsince you were Mr Belshaw, a newish teacher at TwitterRidgewood. 13
  14. 14. I cant recall. I "ran across" your online thesis,marvelled at the idea and work, decided to follow FriendFeed link to on Twitter and the rest is history. Serendipity? Through TwitterVia twitter Probably via twitter twitterTwittet Through TwitterI like the style. I always learn something and whatI think is great is that you always take the time to Job guide 2 years back via twitterreply to comments!! Probably through a mutual connection. It wasA link through my Twitter feeds many years ago...Through reading other education and education Twitter during #gtauktechnology blogs, I dont remember the actual onewhere I saw yours but... Tweet.Since I am doing my B Ed dissertation on Someone else referenced your old MrBelshaw blogEducation Technology I came across your blogsand your tweets many times. TwitterThrough twitter Internet searchFollowing you on twitter Twitter followers with similar interest 14
  15. 15. Twitter Via TwitterTwitter Through following you in Twitter.Started following you on Twitter, started life on twitterTwitter following loks of educators. Your namepopped up in conversation and various RTs so I Heard some dude mention your name on EduTalkbegan following you and discovered your blog. radio.Through following you on Twitter. Google recommended items based on other subscriptions.OLDaily Top ten educational blogs suggested by DavidVia Twitter HopkinsGoogle+ You told meTwitter Via twitterRecommendations on twitter TwitterI cant remember! Probably through a link from GogoleTES or another teaching blog. TwitterTwitter 15
  16. 16. From Twitter ... I think!TwitterThrough Nick Dennis telling me about his friendwho had created a tutorial on how to cut & play asection of a DVD ;-)Randomly googling for teaching ideas when I wastraining as a secondary teacherGoogle search for teachers using technology (Ithink)Link on twitterVia twitter but I cannot remember exactly how.History Teachers Discussion ForumThrough Twitter 16
  17. 17. How long have you been reading my blog? First time <1 month 1-6 months6 months - 1 year 1-2 years 2+ years 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 17
  18. 18. How do you find out about my new blogposts? N/A RSS Email updates Twitter updates Facebook Other 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 18
  19. 19. (Misc.) [RSS Feed] & Twitter updatesTwitter AND RSSJust check at random intervalsRSS / Twitter depending on which happens to be inmy line of view at the time. (Or others posts aboutthem)Google+[RSS Feed] I also see them on Twitter[Email updates] and twitterCheck front page twice a weekDaily checkGoogle+Google+ 19
  20. 20. Which of the things I blog about interestsyou most? Education Technology Productivity Digital Literacies Leadership Design Everything Else 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 20
  21. 21. Improving myblogTo me, there’s nothing more interesting than whenpeople are given a free-text box to fill in! Thequestion: What can I do to make my blog better? wasanswered by around half of the total number ofpeople who filled in the survey.The next few pages list verbatim, uncorrected anduncensored responses to the question of how I canimprove my blog. Some are humorous, and manyare insightful. I removed two: one due to self-identification, and the response from my wife! 21
  22. 22. Clearer focus ....digilit more prominent and I like your blog the way it is its easy to navigatespecifying the context[s] that it relates to as one and also easy to read, I usually have to enlarge sitesize does not fit all "context is key". Thanks pages to read but your site is a pleasure to read - its also not clutteredDo more on technology and things for kids toimprove confidence In school More of the same pleaseOff hand, cant think of anything in particular. I like how you have categorised your most popular blogs but I found it quite tricky to search for yourKeep doing what youre doing others.Half the time I have absolutely no idea what you I think itll be another great read this year andare talking about. Maybe thats because its very your posts and views within them will depend onfocussed on HE? Sometimes its just too academic what youre discussing. Hope the year goes well forfor me. you.The one thing I miss most from your blog was the more regular postsweekly resources. I started reading your blogbecause of the incredible amount of ed tech info Im not looking for it to change. When you wereand resources, there seems to be less of that lately working in schools your blog posts resonated more with my experiences, as I work in schools. TheNot sure - just keep doing what youre doing! blog has changed as your role(s) have changed and, whilst the content may no longer be as relevant, itIts good, just keep it up. still remains interesting. 22
  23. 23. More productivity stuff. I am in particular interested in productivity, continous learning and how organisations operateSometimes I miss your updates as twitter is so better. I think the education industry is a specialbusy, maybe have a direct email update. industry where you can have unique organisational designs. Like the Lumiar School from Ricardoensure philosophical stuff and theorizing is Semler, which provides a unique concept and ideasgrounded in real practical and do-able in-school for the Its pretty good as it isIm not sure. Its pretty good. Maybe take a widerview (hard to explain what that even means - but it I like it as it is TBHmeans something like, be less focused, draw moreassociations between things). Dancing girls :o)keep doing what your doing! Shorter, more frequent entries....... tough one. is fine as is. Maybe survey needed to have multiple answers for a couple of questions.Start analysing what the government are up to - bythis I mean, the government announce things in I am very interested in your blog posts aboutbits over a period of time - I think you have the education but also look forward to your postsability to put all the bits together to get the about how I use my macbook proimplication of the whole! more of these please ;o) thank you Keep it coming! 23
  24. 24. Be less pushy :-) continueI dont feel able to make a suggestion for You are a clear, concise writer. Keep up that clarity!improvement - although I do miss the productivitypost. I would accept though that you have I especially liked User Outcomes Weeklyprobably got into a flow that works pretty well foryou and therefore are researching productivity less. The most useful thing I think youve ever doneThanks for providing me with good INSET and were the series of summaries of what you werethoughtful provocation over several years. reading online. I know theyre time consuming, but bring that back would be ace!Keep doing what youre doing! I am a newcomer to learning with technology soMore useful to c;assroom, cross the divide from am reluctant to offer "better" suggestions. I haveresearch & innovation to actual delivery to bottom been somewhat immersed in your writing andset Y10 presentations and have found them absolutely inspiring. I like the "start here" part of your blogJust keep it up! Its enjoyable, and informative. so do keep a central spot of connection. Must admit I was somewhat confused when I first cameMake it less academic. This may sound like a across your work---Does he work for JISC? How isbackwards step, but I stopped reading a few his thesis related to JISC? There seemed to be anarticles recently as I didnt really understand them. overwhelming array of connections---I now seeSome of the posts assume that we have the that this is what learning is all about! I keep "tabs"background knowledge that you have. on your work via Netvibes, your posts enable me to think (and do) in different ways and always provideKeep on writing! a context. You are a context-setter and that is 24
  25. 25. affirming to my learner-wanderer space. Keep Convert some of the longer posts to podcasts/saying "where this comes from" Thank you. vodcasts?Its fine Continue to do what youve been doing!I like your blog just the way it is! :) More of your well thought out opinions.I think that they are very inspiring for an Fine as it is. Gearing to a fickle audience is auniversity student. precarious strategy. I read your posts for what you are interested in, and that extends my interests.Im not sure I really enjoy what you write about ! Ilike the mix of topics This is a tough question... however, I think the posts I have enjoyed the most are the ones thatIt is geared to older secondary sector. More have been directly influenced by your work atprimary? JISC; including such material as the slides and videos you have shared about presentations. Also,Acknowledge others as much as possible, push out I really enjoy posts that are sparked from debatesto newbs, bring in knowledge from the margins on Twitter. More of these types of posts, I wouldand even outside your normal channels. Different personally enjoy reading.metaphors from different fields. Ignore these suggestions and just keep on keepinJust keep blogging. I wish I had the discipline. on, Doug.Happy new year! Keep doing what youre doing. 25
  26. 26. Keep doing what you are doing! :) it has a great and diverse collection of stuff - i dig into the archive quite a bit. I personally care lessIf I could answer that then Id consider blog for the productivity stuff BUT admire how muchcontent consultant as a possible income source! you are able to get done so maybe I should focus more! It is one of the blogs i ALWAYS refer newPerhaps more images and use of video/audio folks to e-learning to.(sometimes its great to be told someting ratherthan read it). Do you podcast? Disclaimer - I am Interesting as it is. Like to see how Blogs developquite new to your blog so perhaps there is actually over time. (I like more images!)plenty of this and Ive just not come across it yet! More reviews.more short videos ModestyIt is quite hard to find older posts with yourminimal design. Can see how education, technology and digital literacies all sit comfortably together, but neverEven more practical ideas that can be applied in sure about productivity. Clearly tech can supportthe classroom! better productivity, but wondered whether this theme might be better suited in a different forum?Im still new here so have no opinion on the To be honest, Im glad the thesis is over as it wasmatter. Should something come to mind, Ill let taking over the blog and youve got a lot ofyou know. The little Ive seen impresses me interesting other stuff to talk about. I reallygreatly. The design of the different information enjoyed the "Things I found this week" that youchannels and the tone of your writing are inspiring used to do a while ago.and of great value. 26
  27. 27. Couldnt answer the last question, as what I likeabout your blog is the range of topics and the factyou challenge widely accepted ideas. Im not sureits an idea of making it better, but just carrying onpushing forward with what you are doing will keepme reading!I used to like your old Sunday reflective post ofwhat you had come ac cross in the week. You stillshare your links but found the reflective processinteresting.I really enjoyed the links posts where you sharedwhat you had read each week.Keep on keepin on!More links to other blogs of interest, includingsources of the ideas you write about it.More guest bloggersBring back the Sunday supplement 27
  28. 28. AnalysisFirst and foremost, I am very grateful and slightlyhumbled by the kind words expressed in the above.Although ‘modesty’ was mentioned as something Icould improve upon, I’m genuinely surprised thatso many people actively choose to read what Iwrite.The results of this reader blog survey surprised mefor a number of reasons. I suppose I have toremember that this might not be representative asrespondents were self-selected and did notconstitute a random sample.That being said, the biggest surprises for me were: • Age - I thought that the majority of people reading my blog were about the same age as me (early 30s) • Location - Google Analytics shows that at least as many people view my blog from North America as Europe. On reflection, 28
  29. 29. ! regular readers are probably more likely to be Higher Education. Having worked with Reception! from the UK. through to Postgraduates, I do try to be as inclusive as possible, but perhaps I should signal a • Things I Learned This Week - I haven’t bit better to whom I’m directing such posts. updated this series of blog posts since December 2010 but it’s still something a The issue, of course, with specifying an audience is significant number of people thought should that those who might have found it applicable to make a return. their context may be put off reading it. It’s • Twitter - I suppose five years since first something for me to consider. signing up I shouldn’t be surprised by the ability of Twitter to drive traffic to blogs. But Many people talked of my ‘clarity’ in writing which I find staggering the number of people who is reflected in the design of my blog. I particularly eschew RSS feeds (and email) and rely on it liked the comment about not having to resize text for new post notifications. when arriving at my site. It’s also good that people value my opinions on various educational matters. There were some weak signals about perhaps doingYou can never please all of the people all of the more multimedia in the form of short videos ortime, or so the saying goes. That proved to be true podcasting. Again, it’s something I shall consider.with, for example, my posts on productivity whichsome wanted more of and others preferred to Calls for me to make research more relevant toavoid. work in classrooms is a difficult one. Whilst I still feel I have my ‘finger on the pulse’ when it comesLikewise, some believed I have a specific audience to what’s going on in the schools sector, I havein mind, with some believing this is secondary now been out of the classroom for around twoschools and others thinking I focus too much on years. You never forget what it’s like, but more 29
  30. 30. than any other context I’ve experienced, theschools landscape changes very quickly.There’s definitely some scope in perhaps hinting athow things I write about could be applied in avariety of contexts, including the classroom. I shallhave a think.Finally, I believe that I’ve got some work to do inpointing those who have recently discovered myblog to the other places that I write online. There’sgood reasons (or there were good reasons at thetime) for my heterogeneous presence but I agreethat keeping up with them all can be confusing.I plan to improve the design of my blog (which hasrecently had a more minimalist overhaul) to makeit easier to find posts and to represent the variousplaces I write online. If you’re reading this andwould like a list, see the Appendix. 30
  31. 31. ConclusionWhilst I cannot put into practice the preferencesand wishes of all of my readers, I commit tomaking the following changes to my blog on thebasis of this inaugural reader survey:1. Look into the possibility of the return of Things I Learned This Week.2. Think carefully about the possibility of creating a separate Twitter account solely for announcing new blog posts from (I would then retweet this from @dajbelshaw)3. Re-introduce the one-click automatic translation that used to be a feature of my blog. (This is an attempt to widen the number of readers from non-English-speaking countries)4. Where possible, create video and audio to get my points across. 31
  32. 32. 5. Consider (and mention explicitly) the applicability of the ideas I mention in my blog posts.6. Recommend other voices for people to follow.7. Keep in mind that my reader demographic may be older than I am. (I’m not entirely sure what this means in practice!)8. Remember that many of my readers enjoy the diverse interests I have and enjoy me ‘mixing it up’.9. Assess the readability of blog posts and perhaps flag up (in a non-patronising way) the more ‘academic’ ones.10. Include relevant images in posts to break up the text. 32
  33. 33. AppendixOriginal, full-length posts • My blog ( • ( • Synechism ( • Doug’s Conference Blog ( • Purpos/ed ( • DMLcentral ( updates and links • Thought Shrapnel ( • Doug’s Ideas Garden ( • Doug’s FAQ ( networks • Twitter (@dajbelshaw & @dajbconf) • Google+ ( • Pinterest ( note that I limit myself to the number of people I foow on Twitter to enable meaningful interactions. I also do not add people asconnections on LinkedIn without having met them in person - or at least having done some significant work with them online) 33
  34. 34. Image creditsAll images used under a Creative Commons license: • kennymatic: & 3875936992 • Solo:, 2354816855 & • thekellyscope: 34