Reader survey results: 2011

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Holy crap you guys, I have been putting off writing this post. The reader survey? It's hard.

It's hard to set up (survey piping/logic is not my strong suit), hard to digest, and even harder to figure out what to say about it. Someone could write a dissertation on this shit, there's soooo much data. The former sociology undergrad in me gets all excited, and then I start reading the 30,000 words of feedback and get all overwhelmed.

BUT! I want to share some interesting findings. So put on your demographer hat and let's do this.

Basic demographics

No surprise that 97.7% of you are women, but it's fascinating that here on Offbeat Bride, you're as likely to be male as you are to identify as “neither/both” when it comes to gender. I like that genderqueer readers are as common as men! I like chewing over gender issues, and I hope that those of you who are in that neither/both category feel affirmed and comfortable here. (Also, site recommendation for those who are into neither/both gender stuff: Genderfork.)

Friends, I forget how many of you are younger than me. I have this weird age thing where I just sorta assume everyone is my age-ish, and I forget that more than half of you are in your mid-20s. My writing on Offbeat Bride has been criticized for feeling like a scolding from a big sister, and you know what? Totally. My writing has always been condescending, and it was extra insufferable when I was writing “how to be an awesome raver” articles when I was 22! (You know, when many of you were in MIDDLE SCHOOL OMG.) This is all to say, my writing style has always leaned toward the patronizing, but yeah, hi there: I'm a decade older than you and sometimes that means I am like an irritating big sister. Sorry about that.

While yes, the vast majority of you are Caucasian, I love that waaay more of you identify as “Mixed Race” than any non-white racial group. Yay for the melting pot! Welcome to the future of race in countries like the US, UK, and Australia. We just talked a lot about race, so I'm not sure what else there is to say — other than to link this comment on Racialicious, which made me feel really good.

15% of you identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, or otherwise queer. That's a higher percentage that the usual 10% number that's tossed around as the US LGBT population, which is good — we're always looking to keep our LGBT coverage disproportionately high. It kills me how few states have legalized gay marriage, but we'll keep featuring all the commitment ceremonies, civil unions, and other non-legal unions we can. I hope to see the numbers keep tipping towards more and more of them being legal. (Also, y'all are reading So You're EnGAYged, right?)

Phases and Identities

Wedding planning status (plus Offbeat Wives)
Predictably, half of you are engaged, with another almost 20% in the aspirational/considering it phase.

This year, I was especially curious about those of you who are married and stick around: 18% of you identify as “Offbeat Wives.” Here's why y'all say you still read:

A lot of you stick around because you like the Offbeat thang, but you're not yet planning a family, so you lurk with weddings. I called to make an appointment with my hairdresser the other day, and when I gave my name to the receptionist, she was like “OMG, Ariel: I'm so embarrassed. I read your websites but I'm totally single and not a parent. What's wrong with me!?” I was like “Meh, you're not alone. Offbeat Home might make you feel way less creepy.”

Part of what I'm trying to do with the Offbeat Empire is expand the warm and fuzzy feelings, empowering writing, community, and inspiration to other life phases … and Home might actually be the most inclusive of all. It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

You all know this is where I get a serious sociology woody. I know over half of you identify as Offbeat Lite and don't really see yourself as part of a subculture which is totally cool. You know we loves y'all, and we love hearing how you assert your independence from a “scene.” But for the other 50%, you know I loooooove hearing how y'all describe yourselves.

There are the biggies, but of course my favorites are the OTHERS. That's where I learn the most. TEACH ME, FREAKY LADIES: Alternative, Anarchist, Anime, Athlete, BDSM, Belly Dancing Ninja!, Birder, Bookoholic, Burlesque, Cat Lady, Tattooed Lady, Cultural fusion; Eco-friendly (not necessarily hippie), DnD geek, Eco, Feminist, Fannish, kinky, Fat/body-accepting, Foodie, Geek, Gothic/Lolita, Harry Potter [side note: I always suspected he was a fan], Hip Hop, Historical Buff, Indie, Interracial family, Librarian, Metal, Otaku, Pagan, Pin-up/cabaret, Pirate, Plus size, SCA, Scene, Science geek, Star wars Geek, Theater Geek, Vegan, Victorian, ZOMBIES. [Deep breath!]biker chick, bohemian, browncoat, comic book geek, computer nerd, derby girl, dorky, ex-goth, ex-hippieish-stoner, hooper, metalhead, swing dancer, urban homesteader, and finally, just plain weird.

If you want to loose a week of your time, start Googling the ones you don't know. Fuck: start googling the ones you DO know.

Also, I'm always interested how many people say they don't like labels. Is it just because I love sociology and Becker's theories, that I think self-identified labels can be some of the most fascinating personal development tools? I'm DYING to talk some labeling theory and identity development. Anyone else? In the meantime, I'll just dork out on some more survey data.

Fuck me: I've now addressed, like, five questions out of 50. There's no way to cover it all! Lemme pick one more bit of interestingness…

Content you want
45% of you want more stuff relevant to Offbeat Wives. I'm thinking Offbeat Home might fill that niche, but I've been trying to write more general relationship advice/ramblings here.

45% of you also want more DIY content — so we now have Whitney Lee as our DIY editor so we'll have at least one post a week about DIY.

35% of you want more wedding profiles, which is insaaane. We do five a week, and I don't see it increasing. I like bride profiles, but I think curation is key. With wedding porn it IS possible to have too much of a good thing.

A sizable chunk of you also said you wanted more MEATY posts to balance out the inspiration.

We also got some more granular feedback about content: more photos in wedding profiles (we're doing it!), include budget info in wedding profiles (totally not doing it: I don't want to wade into the emotional minefield of making people talk about how they spend their money), more posts from me (aww jeez, guys. When you talk sweet like that I'll do anything for y'all), and then a million suggestions that contrasted with each other. Basically, anything that you want more of, assume there's someone who gave vehement feedback that GOD, could we just stop posting about that stupid fucking thing already? Enough!

This is all to say, as we've said before: Offbeat Bride can never be everyone's perfect website. And as always, we're ok with that. Thanks to those of you who stumble around with us, doing our thing. You make the ride awesome.

PS: Although the reader survey is done, we're always open to feedback via email.

Comments on Reader survey results: 2011

  1. Ha, I love that you suggested balancing OffBeat Bride with A Practical Wedding. It’s my daily M.O.

    Also? This shit is fascinating. It’s really awesome to see so many different people/interests/labels etc. all come together on one community and be totally awesome to each other. Really.

  2. the anthropologist that is me is now bouncing around ridonkulously happy. 😀 subcultures and online identity-making/curating/presenting? sooooooooooo my thing. *spaz*

    Also, really happy to see there’s no push to get the offbeat wives outta here – i might still be a way off getting past the wedding, but it’s really REALLY nice to know that if i still feel the need for the Tribe after the fact? i can still come to the Tribe! yay! i love you guys!

  3. Keep on keepin’ on, my dear! Nothing’s perfect, but we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t like it that way!

  4. cannot wait for offbeat home!!!! as much as i love being a part of this community, there are only a few subjects i have continued interest in with regards to weddings… (but i ALWAYS recommend it to budding brides! ^.^)
    can’t wait til feb 28th!!!!

  5. Yeah Ariel! One thing the survey did tell you is that you have one hell of a rocking site! And I’m a serious stats geek so to see an OBB post with charts and graphs — I’m all warm and fuzzy inside.

  6. Aww, Ariel! I LOVE the way you write. Mainly because the “older sister” attitude totally reminds me of my sisters. And that’s kinda reassuring to hear online.

    Plus I think it’s completely suitable for the site. Weddings are high drama and make us brides really take a look at ourselves, our lives, and the people in them. There’s lots of doubt, worry, tears, laughter, rage, and love. So it’s nice to hear, no matter your age, a wise voice come in and say, “HEY! Listen!”, and give you advice chalk full of encouragement, reassurance, rational thought and brain food to mull over ourselves.

    And honestly? Sometimes we need to be scolded!

    I wouldn’t change a thing about OBB. I love it!

    • Amen to this
      I dont have any sisters younger or older
      So Ariel I have sort of adopted you as my own.
      Welcome to the family 🙂

  7. I have to say I started reading on this site because my sister-in-love (rather than in law, cause though she and my brother in law haven’t married, shes my sister through and through) was on a wedding kick. but if there is something this site and offbeat mama has shown is there is a niche for everyone. a place where you can shine for you are and people who can appreciate is WORLDWIDE!! viva la offbeat world!! 🙂

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