The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 September 2005

Why are we here?

Dan Li, graduate student in communications at Marquette, came up with this thesis for her Master's degree: Why Do You Blog: A Uses-and-Gratifications Inquiry into Bloggers' Motivations. I was not one of the respondents to her survey, or this section would surely have come out different:

Seven motivations for blogging emerge in this research: self-documentation, improving writing, self-expression, medium appeal, information, passing time, and socialization. Except for passing time, all the other six motivations were highly approved by bloggers. Most of those motivations are moderately correlated.

In the 179-page document itself is a set of gender variances:

Women tend to write about personal topics while men are more into coverage of public events or remote topics. In terms of particular topics, women write about their interests or hobbies, family and friends, their own creative work, and personal experiences more often than men. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in topics such as technology and science, politics and politicians, and business. Men are more prone to use their own real names for identification while women prefer a more implicit way by using variants of real names or simply pseudonyms. However, women tend to present their own and others' photos on blogs while men are less likely to do the same. In addition, women would like to disclose more personal content than men. Men are more likely to offer in-text links and send trackbacks than women. Women use default templates more frequently while men preferred to modify existing templates or design their own from scratch. Gender gap was also discovered in attitudes towards importance of feedback in the blogosphere. Generally men outnumber women in perception of feedback importance. The only exception is that women value readers' comments more than men. One of the most important intended readers of a female blogger is herself. She would write for friends too. Men focus more on colleagues. Furthermore they would be more likely to suppose anyone could be their reader while women preferred more specified readers.

The higher prevalence of pseudonyms among the females is no surprise, but I wouldn't have guessed that men prefer to futz around with their templates more than women do; women, after all, have designed a rather substantial percentage of the big-name blogs.

(Snagged from Population Statistic; Costa did participate in the Li study.)

Posted at 8:24 AM to Blogorrhea


Maybe it's all in the definition of "futz around." I tweak my templates at least once a month. But odds are my readers have only noticed when the color scheme changes or when the right sidebar got added.

Being a guy, I'd say those color scheme or macro-format tweaks qualify as actual changes -- as would an URL change (every 500,000 unique visits, so the experts advise) or a new name for the blog.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:34 AM on 12 September 2005

I'm in version 8.962, which should tell you how much screwing about I do with this stuff.

I am sorely tempted to hire one of the experts next time I redo this stuff (probably in the spring).

Posted by: CGHill at 10:06 AM on 12 September 2005

I highly recommend hiring outside help for redesigns. Then you've got someone else to blame.

I think the tendency for men to poke around is due to the nature of redesigning web pages, i.e. codemonkeying. Even the WYSIWYG tools out there force you to actually dig into the code to do substantial changes; and while there are plenty of women coders, statistically it's more of a guy thing.

Posted by: CT at 2:43 PM on 12 September 2005

Well, the bigger this site gets, the less inclined I am to mess with it. (I just wrote the post numbered 5000, though I haven't released it yet, and technically there are only about 4980 posts because some early experiments got deleted.)

And while a 15-mb database is theoretically no harder to manipulate than a 5-mb database, my anxiety varies as the square of the volume: I'd be nine times as fearful.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:05 PM on 12 September 2005