Results of the Thinga-Reader Survey

Just over 400 people bothered themselves to take our quick survey. (Thank you.) Here are the results.

Who are you?

  • 76% Mom
  • 14% Dad
  • 2% Mom and Dad
  • 8% Other

I’ve wondered why mostly moms read Thinga. Is it because mostly moms are involved enough in parenting to read baby blogs? Or because I don’t discuss stereotypical guy things such as cars and sports? (I’ve seen a few dad baby blogs preoccupied with such things.) Even among my family’s circle of friends, it’s primarily moms who read and the dads couldn’t care less.

The 8 percent of “other” readers are mostly extended family members, such as grandmothers and uncles, with this one odd standout, described in the person’s own words: “weird, baby-adoring teenager.”

How old are your kids?

  • 09% Planning for kids
  • 12% Currently pregnant
  • 22% Under 1-year-old
  • 32% 1-year-old
  • 27% 2-years-old
  • 20% 3-years-old
  • 15% 4-years-old
  • 08% 5-years-old
  • 04% 6-to-12-years-old
  • 01% 13-years or older
  • 02% Won’t be a parent

Percentages add up to more than 100% because you could select more than one checkbox.

Those “won’t be a parent” folks are mostly extended family members, teachers and baby-adoring teenagers.

Do any of your kids have disabilities?

I’ve exchanged e-mails with a few such parents, so I was curious to find out how many are reading.

  • 5% Yes
  • 90% No
  • 5% I have no children

Where do you fall?

  • 26% Practicing religious
  • 33% Non-practicing religious
  • 41% Agnostic / atheist
  • 12% Conservative
  • 38% Moderate
  • 50% Progressive

I asked this question because I had two impressions about Thinga-readers based upon the blogs I’ve seen linking to me.

  1. There are lots of declared religious and declared atheist parents reading Thinga (it’s often mentioned in their writing).
  2. These two groups have more in common than they realize (except for one obvious disagreement). I expect both groups will disagree with me, but I see them on the fringes of society, not blindly accepting what pop culture throws at them, and making deliberate parenting choices with strong feelings about how to raise their children.

Anyhow, I am at least off-base on thinking the readership is balanced. I guess that lean toward one end of the belief spectrum came about because I’ve intentionally avoided discussing my own religious beliefs and maybe that’s a turn-off for some people. You know, no mention of VeggieTales, but Scholastic books-on-DVD are often contest prizes. Or something. I dunno.

At what age did/will you expose your kid(s) to TV/DVDs/videos? (best guess)

  • 45% In the first year
  • 32% Second year
  • 14% Third year
  • 05% Fourth year
  • 01% Fifth year
  • 03% Older

For me it was the fourth year, about 30 minutes every Saturday as our “Movie Night.” The only real movie my daughter has seen is Babe. Curiously, this classic is not promoted, nor carried in most stores. I wonder if it’s because of the vegetarian tone set in the opening slaughterhouse sequence.

Circumcision?

  • 48% Yes way
  • 52% No way

These stats lean more toward being anti-penis mutilation than US national stats, but some Thinga-readers are not based in the US, so…

And darn, I forgot to ask where you live.

Pink princesses for girls?

  • 10% Yes way
  • 59% Way, in moderation
  • 32% No way

Trucks / sports for boys?

  • 19% Yes way
  • 73% Way, in moderation
  • 08% No way

Hey, what gives? Is it more politically correct for a girl to be boyish than for a boy to be girlish?

What could you live without, or would like to see added?

I’ll spare you the compliments on the “What do you like about Thinga?” question. Humor was a strong point, then various reoccurring features were mentioned. Oh, but let’s hear the gripes! And me griping back!

“You tend to be a little judgmental about certain products and it rubs me the wrong way.”

Oops, my saying “penis-mutilation” is coming back to haunt me. It’s an easy guilt trip every time my mother reads it. Yep, I’ll be receiving another e-mail today.

Being judgmental is my responsibility — to be honest and not spare my opinion for the sake of mass appeal. It should also help you evaluate how seriously to weigh my criticism or praise of things because you’ve come to understand my sensibilities.

“I love the link round-up, but they are usually in a big bulk so I don’t go through all of them.”

I should spend less time working? Point taken. I’ve begun shortening the round-ups, although mostly because I’ve found fewer things to recommend.

“I think you go overboard on your rants on pink.”

Pink, pink, you stink! Criticism accepted.

“Sometimes I feel very …. judged … by the tone of the blog. Like I’m not doing a good enough job, not ‘up to your standards’ even though I’m doing the best job I can.”

Background: This mom is working two jobs and her husband works full-time.

I thought maybe my mere presence as a 50-50 household was an uncomfortable reminder (although since my wife began teaching she has a .9 timebase, albeit 30% of the work occurs at home in the evening.)

But no, my griping about using TV as a babysitter was the issue this anonymous mom mentioned. What can I say? I’ve got to set the bar somewhere. I express my benchmarks about the ideals I strive for. Am I perfect? No. My 1-year-old eats way too many Cheerios.

“I just wish you would post more often. But as a parent myself I completely understand.”

Oof. And I’ve been slipping lately. See? No pie charts or bar graphs in this post.

For me to post more than 1 article 5 days a week, I see two options:

  1. Simplistic brief posts like other blogs throw at you shotgun style, always showing you the same stuff you read everywhere else.
  2. I invest a ton more time into writing, necessitating increased revenue from advertisers, requiring me to go mainstream. Yay, Disney! Dora! Thomas!

Either change would drive a good number of you away. I’m too far from mainstream to draw the readership size needed to attract big advertisers that would justify my time commitment.

“It seems that every review is positive… we rarely see reviews of products that you tried and did not like.”

That’s by design. I lampoon untested products from afar and I only review products my family generally likes.

After almost 5 years as a parent, I’m so jaded that I look at the majority of baby and toddler products in the market and I think they’re junk. Rehashed junk. Needless. Useless. Poorly constructed. Poorly designed. You name it.

I receive hundreds of press releases each week and it’s rare that I find a product I want to spend my time to evaluate. It’s simply not worth it to me personally to bring junk into my home.

And it would be really boring if I wrote glowing reviews of all the essential gear that you already know about because it’s sold in every chain store on the planet.

If you’re wondering about a particular product, go to Amazon, look it up, and flip straight to the 1-star reviews before reading the sometimes-fake 5-star reviews. And you can always e-mail me if you think I’ll have a unique perspective on something.

“The site seems to not have as many reviews as of late, but I think that is because you’ve been busy with the kids and were all getting over being sick.”

True. I have quite a few reviews waiting in the wings. I expect my life will resume some sense of normalcy starting next week. And then I’ll begin sifting through several thousands e-mails (in case you’re wondering why you’ve been ignored).

“The condescending attitude that if YOU don’t see a product’s usefulness, then it must be without all merit and the inventor is an idiot. Mostly I end up thinking you are the idiot because you lack the ability to see situations different from your own require different solutions and options. But I keep reading, so maybe I’m the idiot.”

Have you been talking to my wife?

“More reviews. Fewer reviews. More personal stories. Fewer personal stories. More weird stuff. Less weird stuff. More contests. Fewer contests.”

That’s a summary.

Oh, okay, after so many downers, here are a few of my favorite ‘What do you like?” responses:

“Funny good stories. I initially was trying to find dad blogs that my husband could read, but I ended up really liking this one. And it gives my husband and I a common blog we like.”

“Because you make me laugh. And give me strength to not give in to what all the ‘other moms’ may or may not be doing with their children.”

“I find a site like this more realistic than something like [blog name omitted], which I also read. [Name omitted] is like the pretty magazines at the store — you flip through them for ideas, but put them back on the shelf before you go home. Thingamababy is REAL. That’s what makes it great.”

“It is a site where I learn new things about children and parenting, learn other methods and views that I may not be aware of or used to. I enjoy coming to this site because I never know what to expect and am surprised every time.”

“I hate baby window shopping blogs and yours is like one from an alternate universe. I also like the fact that you cover disability-related topics and generate discussion around parenting issues.”

“I enjoy the dad perspective. I enjoy your humor, intellect, feminism, rants, etc. I feel like you care about your children and who they become.”

Oh! That’s it! That’s why dads don’t read me. I’m feminine. Excuse me while I scratch my ovaries.

Comments

4 Responses to “Results of the Thinga-Reader Survey”

  1. RobMonroe says:

    Thanks for summarizing and posting your survey results. It’s always nice to know that data collected was actually read!

    I don’t think that you have ovaries because you care about your children and who they become. If I’m wrong, I have ovaries, too… That would explain a lot.

    May 5th, 2009 at 8:35 am

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m not super religious, but I kinda like Veggie Tales. They are moral tales, not necessarily “Religious”. Yeah, they mention God sometimes, but not in a “Praise God Almighty” kind of way. I also balance it out with other cultural influences.

    I’d love to hear more from Dads like you. My husband is a lot like you… but doesn’t have a lot of time to read Thingamababy because he’s working and taking care of our daughter. I read you while I’m at work. Sshhhh… don’t tell anyone.

    May 5th, 2009 at 9:03 am

  3. Peter says:

    You have more than one non-parent, non-extended family reader, it seems. :) I’m in my late 20s, but I know I want kids, so vicariously enjoying other people’s experiences through blogs and such is a way to satisfy whatever the male equivalent of the biological clock ticking is. I wouldn’t worry about changing too much, by the way; after all, the feedback and comments are all from people who DO, in fact, read your blog, flaws and all. If only there was a way to find out why people stopped reading… ;)

    May 5th, 2009 at 10:09 am

  4. Nancy says:

    I took the survey a while ago so I don’t remember what I said about how often you post, but I personally think it’s a perfect amount. Some blogs blast you with posts and if you fall behind it’s nearly impossible to catch up. I can go for a few days without reading your posts and not feel like it will take a month to catch up, only to fall behind again.

    May 13th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

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