Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Why a survey?

I like surveys. 

I have been reading them for most of my working life. 

Though it's true Aboriginal issues, and in more recent times 'racism', are frequently the subject of surveys, I'll read just about any polls and data about preferences and dislikes, eg politics, popular culture, tv ratings, and pirated download figures. 

In the interests of transparency – and there needs to be some, if you are thinking about running a regular online survey, I’ll explain how my idea to run a weekly online survey developed.  

There are two reasons why I will click on a survey:

  1. INFORMATION. I am interested in the results.
  2. TRUST. I have some confidence that the methodogy is sound, and the results are confidential.

I have a lot of questions on my mind most of the time, and no one else was providing the information I was looking for, so I decided to ask the questions myself.

I thought there might be an interest in the results, from time to time, so I decided to blog the data and some of my thoughts about what I thought they meant.

Social media is changing (constantly) and I was looking for another means of engagement.

Or to put it another way – it’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve long claimed that as a writer I need connectivity because I spend so much time alone. But I am not really alone. I have the internet. And I’m not in here by myself. I write for most of the day but the internet is always waiting for me to check in and stay a while. Even those who are surrounded by people in real life, are on their device for a lot of the time. 

I recently spent a week in a hotel in the Melbourne CBD. It was an obstacle course of people glued to their screens - they are not watching where they are walking, they are slow to navigate any corner, street light, and entrance way, they tend to need to be told more than once their order is ready, they are careless with whatever sharp edged and cumbersome for others’ item they are carrying, and other people are invisible to them. 
I can guess at a few of the reasons for the emerging trend of the need for connectivity, that comes on top of and on it’s way to what will be the next emerging trend.

What happened, Twitter? Remember when…


Survey to be posted Sunday by midnight EST
Survey will close  Monday 6pm EST
Survey results blogged Monday 9pm EST
The survey will be open for 24 hours. 
It will run every Monday (pending interest).

The timing is based around the social media behaviour that I‘ve observed..

I’m in the habit of sharing a yarn and hanging out on Twitter on Sunday afternoons.

I watch the ABC tv show, Q & A on Monday nights. My life doesn’t revolve around one tv show – but when there is talk of a reported 70,000 tweets an hour being generated on a slow night with the hashtage #qanda, I am not alone in saying I watch Q and A on a Monday night.

I am not a professional surveyor -  I am not intending to complete a degree in epidemiology or a ph.d in research methods. 
I am asking questions because I am interested in the results and I’m a blogger so I will post the results.  I am aware that this limits the application of the data.

Results will remain confidential where they identify the respondents in any way. Future surveys may include questions around demographics, but they are no intended to be used for identification purposes.

I was keen to experiment with Survey Monkey and I am happy with the results so far, but always looking for new social media tools.

Future surveys will have less questions, and less of an emphasis on cats. I’m aiming for it to be a small survey – something to do – an icebreaker – a conversation starter, and occasionally a poll of a topical issue.

And finally, I’ve had some people contact me suggesting questions – thanks!

Future questions will be on topics such as :

Indigenous people - what do you want to know?
Advocacy and representations

I am a writer – I am interested in everything.
I am independent – and pursue that ideal vigorously.



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