BlogHer '05 Survey Results

Thank you, all of you who endured took the time and effort to complete the BlogHer Conference '05 Decompression Survey. Here is a brief synopsis of what you said -- and we listened, as you'll see in our first BlogHer email news bulletin coming this week.

What did we learn? We learned that:

  • You want another conference.
  • You want a two-day conference.
  • You want the very best people to speak.
  • You really, really want these speakers to be women.
  • You want the conference to be near you.
  • You have incredible, supportive things to say about each other and the experience of coming together.
  • On a personal note, I need to add that I was unprepared for one facet of your feedback. I've been administering and reporting on women's opinion surveys for many years and know for a fact that women don't feel a need to pull their punches in this format. So don't ask women for their opinions if you don't want a frank answer! But when I opened these responses, the survey feedback felt like a huge group hug. Yes, you administered a few sharp raps to our knuckles, and we deserve them (longer sessions, more time to socialize and no more Shania Twain videos, damn it!). But most of your suggestions were qualitative, specific, strategic, and amounted to an incredible outpouring of enthusiasm and support. I provide some samples below.

    To wit: 76 percent of the people who responded to this survey volunteered to help out with BlogHer '06. Now for that, I know, Elisa, Jory and I will happily burn the midnight oil. Again, thank you.

    I've selected and summarized these questions in the following order. Here goes--answers begin below this list:

    1. BlogHer attendee demographics
    2. Please rate your satisfaction with BlogHer overall on a scale of 1-5? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)
    3. Do you feel BlogHer fulfilled its mission of creating greater community, education and exposure for women bloggers? Why or why not?
    4. How would you rate the overall quality of the sessions? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)
    5. How would you rate the overall quality of the discussion guides/moderators and speakers at BlogHer? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)
    6. How important do you think it is for BlogHer to maintain an all-female speaking roster?
    7. How well did the conference do overall to involve participants rather than having traditional panels?
    8. How would you rate the overall quality of BlogHer's approach to networking and getting to know each other, e.g., at Friday dinner and Birds of a Feather meet-ups?
    9. Would you be interested in a conference that lasted two or more days? What would be the optimal duration to cover everything at a BlogHer conference?
    10. Do you prefer that BlogHer Conference 2006 be held on a weekend or a weekday?
    11. In case you haven't had the opportunity to address this question above, what did you enjoy most about BlogHer Conference '05?
    12. In case you haven't had the opportunity to answer this question above, what did you dislike most about BlogHer Conference '05?
    13. Bonus question

    Detail-----

    1. BlogHer Demographics

    • Number of people who attended BlogHer Conference '05 in person: 300+ women and men
    • Number of survey respondents: 116 women and men (Note: Results include 113 complete surveys and three partially completed surveys
    • BlogHer's 116 respondents were:
      • Gender: 110 women, 6 men
      • Attended conference: 97 percent
      • Signed up for email updates: 98 percent
      • Blogging in these categories:
    Arts and Culture 29%

    Blogs/Blogging 43%

    Business 29%

    Current events 36%

    Entertainment 17%

    Events 4%

    Family 28%

    Health & Wellness 11%

    Humanities 6%

    Language 8%

    Law 8%

    Learning 19%

    Lifestyle 27%

    Media 26%

    Men 7%

    Money 4%

    Non-profit NGO 8%

    Politics 25%

    Science 10%

    Sex & Relationships 18%

    Sports 3%

    Technology 35%

    Travel 10%

    Women 40%

    Work 24%

    World 14%

    Other, Specify 36% (Note: A number of attendees here requested a Mommyblogging category - "Family" wasn't the preferred category)

    2. Please rate your satisfaction with BlogHer overall on a scale of 1-5? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)

    Very Satisfied 54%
    Satisfied 39%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 5%
    Dissatisfied 0%
    Very dissatisfied 1%

    Additional feedback:
    · "It was amazing! The best conference/event I've ever been and... I've been to many!"
    · "Great conference! Three things I would change if I could. 1.) Single track so I could have seen all the offered sessions. 2.) Continuous WIFI (I know that's totally a facility problem) 3.) I would have made it two days with evening events to facilitate more networking. :)"
    · "This event far surpassed my expectations. I am still amazed at how much encouragement I received and how inspired I was by the exceptional women I met."
    · "I wish I had been able to go to the dinners--maybe next time a lunch that allows people to mingle."
    · "The discussions that were taking place formally and informally were fantastic. In the formal groups it felt like there wasn't enough time to really delve into the issues or topics at hand and that we'd really only just scratched the surface by the time the session was done.   So really my only issue is, I want MORE BlogHer ;)."
    · "It was an awesome conference.  I attend a lot of corporate, business and tech conferences dominated by men.  This was refreshing, collaborative, heartwarming and just so damn educational!"
    · "you should start BlogHer LLC immediately!! It was exciting and very affirming. I would encourage you to close the east-west gap however. As some of the most infamous bloggers in the media elite are east-coast based women."

    3. Do you feel BlogHer fulfilled its mission of creating greater community, education and exposure for women bloggers? Why or why not?      

    Yes: 99%
    No:    1%

    Additional feedback:
    · "Absolutely. The atmosphere was supportive, informal and informative at the same time, and it facilitated personal connections as well."
    · "BlogHer established a community that reaches across many traditional boundaries of industry, location, subject matter, age, and gender.  The post conference blogging and linking has elevated all BlogHer boats."
    · "On a personal level, I felt my horizons were expanded to encompass new views and areas of discussion that I'd never considered.  On a conference level, I'd wager that the women who attended will be spreading the gospel for a long time to come."
    · "There is lots of buzz in the blog world now about BlogHer and some of the issues it engendered."
    · "I would say Blogher contributed to those goals rather than fulfilling them 100%. Wasn't this conference a beginning?"
    · "It would be great to set up a social network to help women find one another in the community."

    4. How would you rate the overall quality of the sessions? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)   

    Very satisfied  28%
    Satisfied  59%
    Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied  12%
    Dissatisfied  0%
    Very dissatisfied  0%
    N/A 2% [Note: These respondents were involved in BlogHer's chat and did not attend the sessions]

    5. How would you rate the overall quality of the discussion guides/moderators and speakers at BlogHer? (5 is high, 1 is low; please choose one)

    Very satisfied  43%
    Satisfied  42%
    Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied  15%
    Dissatisfied  0%
    Very dissatisfied  0%
    N/A 1% [Note: These respondents were involved in BlogHer's chat and did not attend the sessions]

    6. How important do you think it is for BlogHer to maintain an all-female speaking roster?

    Very important - Women only please  39%
    Important - Some men okay  47% (See *Note* below)
    Not important - I want men to speak too  9%
    Don't care - Gender doesn't matter to me  5%
    N/A 0%

    *Note* We received 66 extended, open-ended responses to this question that lead us to believe it is essential for BlogHer to continue inviting only women to lead sessions (men are welcome as attendees, of course!). Here's why: 39 percent of attendees (43 people) voted this issue "Very important-Women only please." However, slightly more women -- 47 percent of respondents (52 people total) -- indicated that issue is "Important-some men okay." We immediately turned to the open-ended responses that 66 women included with their answers. In these text messages, we learned that the majority of women who selected "important-some men okay" tended to categorize their answers in a way that, in practice, leads us to default to "Very important" or continuing BlogHer's policy of inviting only women as speakers. Here are some classic examples of attendee feedback in the "important-some men okay" category:

    • One woman who attended wrote, "Not until you exhaust all possible contenders should you go the male route."
    • Another woman insisted, "I want the best speakers. I also want a guarantee that in the case of a tie, the slot goes to the woman."

    7. How well did the conference do overall to involve participants rather than having traditional panels?   

    Very satisfied  50%
    Satisfied  39%
    Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied  7%
    Dissatisfied  3%
    Very dissatisfied  0%
    N/A 1% [Note: These respondents were involved in BlogHer's chat and did not attend the sessions]

    8. How would you rate the overall quality of BlogHer's approach to networking and getting to know each other, e.g., at Friday dinner and Birds of a Feather meet-ups?

    Very satisfied  33%
    Satisfied  43%
    Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied  15%
    Dissatisfied  2%
    Very dissatisfied  0%
    N/A 7%

    9. Would you be interested in a conference that lasted two or more days? What would be the optimal duration to cover everything at a BlogHer conference?

    Four days  3%
    Three days  10%
    Two days  71%
    One day  16%
    N/A  0%

    10. Do you prefer that BlogHer Conference 2006 be held on a weekend or a weekday?      

    Weekend  77% 
    Weekday  10% 
    Other    20%

    11. In case you haven't had the opportunity to address this question above, what did you enjoy most about BlogHer Conference '05?

    Representative comments:
    · "Networking"
    · "Networking with other women"
    · "Networking! Hearing from people who don't speak at other conferences."
    · "By far the most enjoyable thing about the conference was getting to meet many of the bloggers whose work I read every day.  I only wish I'd had more time for mingling and meeting people."
    · "For all the online community that exists, you still can't beat the energy and intimacy that comes from face-to-face interaction (with both known and new people). In some cases, the trust that had previously been built online was what enabled those face-to-face interactions to have so much depth, but overall, the opportunity to *have* those interactions at all (and the environment in which they took place) was what made BlogHer so special to me."
    · "This is hard to put into words, but an almost joyful sense of the cooperation and collaboration of the conference organizers which infected the whole day with a sense of possibility, of potential. Of what had already been achieved in, what? four month's time of planning this event, but also potential for future endeavors. I felt myself shaken out of a rut by that."


    12. In case you haven't had the opportunity to answer this question above, what did you dislike most about BlogHer Conference '05?

    Representative comments:
    · "The Technorati Talk [and] the obsession with the a list [and] All the current controversies in blogging, who cares?"
    · "The decision to have to choose between sessions. [and] 15 minutes between sessions!"
    · "I think there wasn't enough time for getting to know each other.  Sometimes it seemed like those who already knew each other were a group unto themselves."
    · "Lots of topics I did not care about... Felt that the concerns really were different for people blogging about different types of topics."
    · "Some less than great presenters and sessions.  But when you try to get new people/topics, there will always be some duds."
    · "Evil Techmart wi-fi. ;-)  I even enjoyed hearing the frustration and whining and complaining.  It was real."

    13. Bonus question for attendees who were blessed with the experience of Saturday night's ad-hoc dinner at Nicolino's: Did opera and the oil painting of Frank Sinatra meet your needs? For future conferences, how would you prefer to be serenaded?

    Genre - Total responses (Percentage)

    Showtunes  7  (15%) 
    Campfire favorites  0  (0%) 
    Anything from Valley of the Dolls  1  (2%) 
    ABBA or nothing, baby  9  (19%) 
    I prefer Kumbaya   2  (4%) 
    Please, please, let's eat in silence...    12  (25%) 
    Other, please specify    24  (50%) [Note: The "other" category elicited a wide spectrum of responses including karaoke and, how to put this politely, expressions of distaste for Shania Twain...LS] 

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