It’s been a long time since our last MediaShift Survey back in 2006, the year after we launched. If you don’t remember back that far, MediaShift was just a one-man blog run by me. Since that time, we’ve added the Idea Lab site, the Collaboration Central site, and expanded our coverage to include hundreds of contributors; events and mixers; and regular audio podcasts and video reports. Whew.
Looking back at those 2006 survey results, I’m happy to say that we did hear you loud and clear on many points:
> You asked us to make MediaShift a group blog, and we’ve certainly done that. We now have dozens of contributors as well as a staff of editors, marketers, sales and tech folks.
> You wanted us to do more coverage of events, and we’ve done that, as well as launching our own events and mixers.
> You said you wanted us to launch an audio podcast, and we’ve done that twice in different formats (and are working on a relaunch for February of The Mediatwits).
So what about now? We sent out another reader survey last fall and received 824 responses this time, many of them likely lured by the chance to win a new iPad. (We’ll get to the iPad winner a bit later.) As before, readers were not shy with their opinions. If I had to give a headline on the results I’d say people like what we do and want more — more stories about changes in the media business, more guides, more training and workshops (uh, we don’t do those yet), and a more fun podcast.
Note: This was an unscientific survey, served up as a pop-up on the site and linked from our various social feeds.
Who You Are
It’s always interesting to get a demographic snapshot of our audience. Here are some tidbits about you:
> 53.2% are female; about 70% are in the U.S.; and 60% make more than $50,000 per year.
> You are quite educated, with 40% being college graduates with bachelor’s degrees, 36% having master’s degrees, and 9% having a doctorate.
> You have varied occupations, with 20% being educators, 20% being self-employed, 16% working at media companies, 8% in executive or management positions, and 7% students.
> Your age is impressively varied, with similar numbers of you aged 35 to 44 as aged 45 to 54, and a similarity between those aged 25 to 34 as aged 64 and up.
Check out this chart showing the age spread:
> Most of you come to the site occasionally, while others are regulars. 53% say they come “once in awhile,” 25% come once a week, and 11% come once a day.
> You are quite knowledgeable about digital and social media. 43% say they are “very knowledgeable,” 33% say they are “somewhat knowledgeable,” 17% say they are “expert” with just 7% saying they are novices.
> You use social media regularly, with 22% finding out about MediaShift through Twitter, 12% through Facebook, and 5% from Google+. Check out this chart showing how you first heard about MediaShift:
What You Like
We asked a series of questions about what you like about us, and how you like to get information. Here are some of the key takeaways:
> On a question about which parts of our offerings you like (where respondents could answer more than once), the MediaShift site took the lead with 81%, followed by Idea Lab (62%) and Collaboration Central (22%). Beyond the site, 50% like our social feeds, 22% like our email newsletters, and 11% like the Mediatwits podcast.
> Topics of greatest interest include changes in mainstream media (69%), digital and journalism education (63%), how-to or guide articles (60%), and how social media can help you (56%). I think we could probably do a better job of covering changes to mainstream media and more how-to articles, while we have done a decent job on education and social media.
Here’s a chart showing your interest in various topics we cover:
> When asked where people get our content, the lion’s share still get it on a laptop or desktop (92%), but respondents could make multiple choices and they also marked mobile phone (27%), tablet (25%), email newsletter (14.5%), and RSS reader (8%).
What You Want
We asked a series of questions to determine interest in what we offer and what we might offer in the future. Here are some of those answers:
> For our multimedia mix, the majority (53%) felt it was just right, while 19% want more video and only 4% want more audio. I was surprised to see that 24% would prefer more text stories instead of multimedia.
> It was fascinating to see the demand for training and workshops. Many of you also wanted conferences, a line of e-books, more video, and more email newsletters. You’ll be happy to hear that we are launching e-books soon. Here’s the chart showing what you want (people could vote more than once):
Fun Ideas and Quotes
We left a lot of room for people to give us feedback on our Mediatwits podcast and our offerings in general. Here’s a selection of some of the more critical, interesting (and entertaining) thoughts from you:
“I feel the hosts [of Mediatwits] could be better prepared. I understand podcasts are economical sources for audio discussion, but I feel the personalities are going about it minute-by-minute, stumbling, pausing, and pondering on what to say next. There’s a lack of confidence and professionalism that sounds from them. Still, I like the topics that are covered and find the guests informative.”
“Mostly, the podcasts are too ‘big.’ I enjoy learning about the bigger aspects of what’s happening in the media, but I mostly focus on what will affect me as an editor and an author.”
“More content designed for beginning journalists — I teach high-school English and journalism; the more resources you provide to help my students read analytically, think critically, and write crisply, the better.”
“Less content and information on grant award winners. I want strong how-to information and not profile pieces on organizations who have won grants. There are media people and organizations who are doing some amazing things using available limited resources. I get tired of reading about foundation-sponsored programs. Innovative yes, but I’d rather see what others are accomplishing.”
“The content is great, especially guest blog posts. More interaction on the site would be better. For example, I follow Poynter’s CoverItLive chats, which are helpful and allow users to interact with guests.”
“Site seems cluttered and uninviting whether on 4:3 or 16:9 display. For the Home page, try a two column layout instead of the current three/four. Too much of the top of the page is taken up with PBS Search, Sponsor ad banner, Quick Links, and site navigation.”
“It’s a big country. Don’t forget the middle.”
“Like the inside looks at changes in the industry, longer articles are better. Also posts from people in the trenches doing things are always great.”
“MediaShift provides insight into the meaningful use of technology. As an educator, I value – and bookmark – pretty much every article that comes my way, each one relevant, timely, and thought-provoking.”
“I think you are an important fixture in the new journalism. Please don’t stop! I think a conference would be an awesome idea… make it academic and professional. Don’t leave anyone out! Have everything from social media to multimedia journalism. This could be HUGE!”
“You’re at the vanguard of media as it progresses. But you need to have more of a two-way dialogue with your audience who are right alongside you in this.”
“I have just found it recently, and I love it. There is nothing else I’ve found anywhere near this well done. I have referred the site to my media studies students, and some friends in the fields of media and technology.”
And finally, we had a winner for our iPad giveaway: Shannan Bowen, who is a digital/social media producer for Atlantic Media. I asked Bowen for her personal take on MediaShift, and here’s what she said:
“MediaShift provides the insight I need for both my professional media career and my Master’s program in Media Entrepreneurship at American University. From newsletters about ‘Daily Must Reads’ to Idea Lab posts from a diverse group of community news innovators, I turn to MediaShift for updates on a wide range of topics in digital media. As the effort continues, I’d love to read more posts by new names, including younger media professionals and students. Also, I’m a fan of both MediaShift and the Idea Lab blog, but I wonder if it would make sense to merge the two while still providing a distinct channel for Knight News Challenge winners. Either way, MediaShift has potential to grow as a resource for media education and inspiration.”
Thanks to everyone for filling out the survey, and if you have more public feedback (good or bad), use the comments below or fill out our feedback form.
Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian and fiancee Renee. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+