Nonsense Numbers

What

Riding on my momentum from doing user research at work, last week I posted a Neutrois Nonsense Readership Survey, and now I want to share some of the results with you.

It’s been 3 years since I started this humble blog, and the Neutrois Nonsense franchise has expanded to inhabit multiple web-crevices. In the end it’s all run by one little tiny (awesome) person, with an inexplicable drive to keep it going. This helps me keep it going a little while longer.

cropped-boxer-2_sm.jpg

Why

Every day/week/month(-ish) I publish pixelated words into the vast nothingness of ethereality. Apart from a handful of (deeply appreciated) comments, what the internet reflects back are stats and numbers. Cold, hard digits.

As much as I love math and all, numbers don’t tell me whether real people are actually reading my (innermost private vulnerable rambling) thoughts, how they’re connecting with them, or reassure me that I’m not totally insane and that I sometimes make some sense. So every once in a while it’s useful to poke at that vast void of nothingness and see what comes back.

Disclaimers

The survey link went out a few times on Tumblr, Twitter, and my FB page. I figured it wasn’t worth posting here on my main WordPress blog because of the overlap. At least that’s what I told myself, though by doing that I probably broke a few major research rules.

All results are totally anonymous, even to me. I only see a spreadsheet of data. I am also selectively sharing / interpreting the results, because that’s what great researchers do, and I am one them.

Here I am reporting on 260 responses.

Basic demographic stuff.

For starters, I was curious to know a bit more about you – who are you?

1. What is your gender?

As you can guess, the answers here were extremely varied: agender, neutrois, gender-fluid, androgyne, non-binary, trans, genderqueer, male, female, any combination thereof and lots of stuff in between.

2. Statistical gender grouping

I realize this one may have been hard to answer for some people, but (despite what I said earlier) sometimes using numbers has its value.

  • 65% genderqueer / non-binary
  • 20% ftm / trans man
  • 7% cisgender
  • 6% gender questioning
  • 2% mtf / trans woman

chart, gender

Makes sense; my content is mostly relevant to non-binary as well as trans-masculine folk, especially all the transition specifics. Though more recently my writing has become more generalized, so I’d love to reach other parts of the wider community.

3. Age

chart, age

The ranges might seem a bit arbitrary, so let me explain. I set the brackets to match up with school ages; then that weird post-college period; then actual adulthood; and finally, 32 seemed far enough away from me that I could cut it off into a separate range.

Overall, the chunk of “adults” was larger than I expected: over 50% are older than 22.

4. Student?

Another quickie curiosity question.

  • 40% are not students
  • 50% are middle/high/college
  • 10% are “other” students (doctorate, associates, certificates, I left it vague)

5. Country of Residence

Not surprisingly, since my content is in English: 70% of my readers live in the US, another 10% in the UK, and another 10% in Canada+Australia.

About 10% live in other countries: The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Finland, Israel, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain. I know I also have a few readers in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina too. I really wish there were more non-English resources so other people could access information like this.

6. Are you active in the LGBTQ community offline?

Here I was simply curious to know how many of you venture outside of the internet (y’know, where the real people live). The split is half and half.

chart, active offline

This goes to show that not all my readers are gung-ho advocates like myself. You may not want to or even be able to participate offline, and that’s totally cool. Yet there is a major chunk who take what you experience and what you read and give back in some way. Perhaps there is a way we can collaborate on this, share our methodology, air out our frustrations, celebrate our victories.

The meat of it

Does anyone even read my blog? Why the hell do you read my blog? What would you like to know more about? I worry about this more than I should.

Where do you follow NN (aka me)?

  • Most respondents (87%) follow me on tumblr. (I’m sure there was some selective bias at play here.) Every day I ingest a lot of content: articles, blog posts, tweets, gifs, and curate what I find most interesting or relevant or think you might like. It all gets posted on my tumblr. Essentially it’s a digested RSS feed of my own RSS feed. (And if you don’t know what RSS is, you need to get on that now).
  • 40% read my main blog here. This was surprisingly yet delightfully higher than I thought.
  • 32% follow me on Facebook, where occasionally there’s interesting commentary. I understand there may be some privacy concerns when interacting there – I wouldn’t follow my own page. (For those who don’t know, you can follow a page and hide it from your profile, and as long as you don’t interact it won’t show up on your news feed.)
  • 12% follow my Twitter feed. After all these years, I still don’t understand Twitter.

How often do you read NN?

The majority read NN a few times a week or a few times a month. Works for me. (A dedicated 12% read it every day.)

Content You Read

Among the options, the top ones were:

  • trans & genderqueer news
  • trans & genderqueer / non-binary resources
  • stories from the trans & gq/nb community
  • personal blog posts
  • gay & trans rights

Content You Want More Of

There was near even distribution among most options:

  • personal blog posts (from Micah, so: more me)
  • personal stories from others (I’ll add more of these to the mix)
  • trans visibility in the media (already post a ton of this, but I’ve resolved to add a bit of critical analysis)
  • transgender resources (always post anything I find on this)
  • transition info (I was starting to think people might not be so interested in this anymore. Turns out I was wrong, good to know.)
  • whatever I find interesting (so: more me)
  • cute puppies
  • “transition that’s geared toward non-binary folk” (this is my forté I guess)
  • “intersection with physical disability” (I honestly don’t feel capable of covering this, as I am wholly unfamiliar with this topic. I’m sorry!)
  • “stuff for my poor cis hetero white boy partner” (poor guy, maybe a cute puppy will help?)

Basically, keep posting what I’m already posting. Don’t be afraid or hesitate or think to myself “nobody else will find this interesting” and just share it!

Now, there was understandable outrage at the glaring omission of cute kittens. I apologize for my oversight. Although I am allergic to cats, I fully accept those who choose a cat-loving lifestyle. Going forward I’ll make an effort to be inclusive of both cute puppies and cute kittens. The cute chinchilla, however, is up for discussion.

Cute Kittens

What would you like Micah to blog about?

Here I wanted to know where to focus my energies on when writing. Not that I can help feeling inspired. But at least knowing what you want to learn about lends a small signal that what I am thinking/writing is not entirely stupid or useless, that it will be a welcome addition to your daily processing!

Pretty much all the options got lots of attention, though the winner was General Gender Ramblings followed closely by Social Transition. I already have plenty of drafts waiting.

Is Micah cute?

I will let the results speak for themselves:

chart, cute?

Sadly, “As hot as a cookie fresh from the oven” was not the front-runner.

Other questions, comments, suggestions, accolades, cute puppies

Users could then enter a freeform field for a random assortment of comments. Here are an outstanding few:

  • “interestingly, you didn’t mention asexuality” - very interesting indeed! I totally forgot. I don’t focus on asexuality as much as gender. I do feel it is extremely valuable to talk about it, both personally and conceptually, though I trust the many pro’s out there who are doing a great job tackling this already.asexual_flag
  • “<3”<3 to all of you!
  • “Could use more selfies” – My hair is never perfect; the front-camera on my phone died; the lighting is bad; whatever other excuse. I don’t take many selfies in my every day life, but I will try to indulge the adoring few who actually want to see my face.

    clean copule selfie

    clean copule selfie

  • “rainbow puppies, cute puppies, kittens, baby chinchilla” - Message received. More cuteness, in animal form.
  • “what does Micah think about when he is stressed” - My ideas just come to me in sporadic bursts, usually in fully formed sentences just when I am trying to fall asleep. I  write entire blog posts in my head in one night (can someone please invent thought-dictation software?). I think about gender, though not as much anymore. I think about my job, my family, y’know, random boring “gay agenda” stuff. When I’m very anxious I think about the little things, like what I’m going to wear and does the blue belt go with the orange pants but what about the socks and will it be warm or chilly and then I obsess for hours on this one little detail. 
  • “sometimes i forget i have a middle name and it takes me like an extra fifteen seconds to remember what it is” – that was very random, but ok.
  • “You’re amazing / Your blog is awesome / I value your blog / It helped me understand myself” – You all have no idea how much I deeply truly appreciate this. Seriously. I can’t say it enough, THIS is what fuels me.

And I promise, I read every single answer!

cute-puppy-gifs-towel

Conclusions

It’s scary to put myself out there. It’s a big time investment. It’s a big emotional investment. I don’t like to feel vulnerable, to put my life on display. But clearly, there are needs yet to be fulfilled. The direct impact I may have on someone’s life (as others have had on mine) usually trump my desire to keep quiet.

Along the way, someone changed my life. A few people, actually. But each individual’s contribution meant the world to me. You are only one person, one life. But so am I. It matters to me that I get to rock your world, even just a tiny bit.

I leave you with a hot cute gay rainbow cookie.

gay-cookie

23 responses to “Nonsense Numbers

  1. All this data is truly interesting! I enjoy the breakdown/interpretation of the numbers too. And I completely missed out on the fact you were even doing a survey! I ONLY connect through your blog (and connect to other people through their blogs.) I’m realizing I’m missing a lot of what’s out there on the internet. Trying to expand, but feeling really ambivalent about the process!

    • You’re not missing much trust me.

      The rest is more of a way for me to procrastinate… I work in spurts and most of the time I’m not actually working, but reading other stuff so hey, I might as well share it.

  2. Brother from another mother, I have been waiting with peppermint breath for the results of your research and at last it has arrived. I have read it 2x just to admit the info into my cerebral hard drive. Way too much info for a floppy. Anyway, now you have incited a riot in my head and I have to make chocolate chip cookies. Only wish you knew how important your writing is to folks like me (can see I fit in the AARP group). I devour every word you write sometimes twice because it is so rich and deeply meaningful. Of course your writing is light, humorous and personal which is why I enjoy it so much. I am satiated.

  3. I also missed the fact you were conducting a survey…* I only follow your blog (I can’t handle most social media, to much for my brain). But I read all your posts, and have been doing so for about two yeas now I think.
    I always appreciate wha tyou have to say, and have very much enjoyed watching you discover yourself and settle into your transformation. It makes me proud and happy for you.
    It is never easy to put yourself out there like you do, but its exactly what people need to hear. Its why people watch movies, tv, plays (go see live theatre – its great for personal connection!) We look for ourselves, for validation, for understanding, among many things. But I think that is a huge part of it. And it can be so disorienting to not find yourself reflected in the media. It feels like people don’t often cop to that, but it has a big impact. Brave people like yourself share your story, giving other the opportunity to connect and learn from it. I know it has helped me. Thank you for all that you do.
    I will leave you with this quote from a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song:
    “Life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it. Hope it helps you maneuvering through yours.”

    • That is so true, I think we don’t realize how much that absence of ourselves in the media affects us. I guess we’re so used to it we can’t fathom it could be different. Thank goodness for the internet and blogs, I would’ve never found myself otherwise.

      I chose not to post the survey on the blog for a number of reasons…. I consider this my “main” hub, so if you’re reading this I’m already reaching you, and I know many of you are silently dedicated. On Tumblr there are 5x-10x more followers but it’s harder to get feedback there, so I know less about my audience and whether they read what I actually write here or just the article links I post. I’m sure it skewed the results, but only a little, given the volume. Anyway that’s what I told myself :P

      Thanks for staying with me for so long.

  4. Well, this is clearly a great way to get everyone who just follows your blog to comment! So, apparently you exist elsewhere on the internet too…

  5. I’m just a blog reader too. I spend very little time everywhere you surveyed! It is interesting to see where I’m average and where I’m not in your readership, though.

  6. Oh man, I haven’t checked this blog in a long time. I bookmarked it when I was on my Gender Quest and it was really helpful for me. It’s so great to read this again!

  7. Ok, for those who are curious…

    Of those who answered the survey:
    – 2% follow ONLY this main blog
    – almost 50% follow ONLY tumblr
    – 13% do NOT follow tumblr
    and tumblr-only audience skews slightly younger than other groups.

    • I follow your tumblr, but definitely not as closely, and I missed that you were doing a survey. I read everything you post here, sometimes several times! :) I think you might have found different numbers if you’d also posted the survey here.

  8. The psychologist in me is absolutely drooling over your data and how concisely you compiled it into understandable format. And, on a more selfish note, I’m (finally) endeavoring to start up a collab channel/blog/thingy, and your results are getting me thinking about where and how to feature this. (Additionally, I’d be thrilled if you’re at all interested in contributing to this, I could definitely use more bloggers.)

    • In my past life I was a psychologist doing fancy research with ANOVA analyses and all that jazz.

      I don’t like doing videos too much – so much that I forgot to include YouTube in my social media channels to investigate. But I’ll gladly write for this blog thingy.

What'd you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s