The results are in: top 7 observations of the 2011 media usage survey.

First of all, thanks to all of those who completed my 2011 Media Usage Survey. More than 60 of you clicked through and completed it, about 25 in the first hour alone. It was by far the most successful newsletter I’ve ever done in terms of clicks and engagement.

Analyzing the results, however, was a lot tougher than I thought. I guess the first thing I learned from doing a survey was to use a tool like surveymonkey that performs many of the calculations and analysis. But still, after plowing through Excel and trying to make sense of it all, I still was able to discern some pretty interesting stuff. Too bad it took six months. Download the excel file below, take a look at the data, and let me know what you think.

Click here to download excel file

Small sample size validates my assumptions, at very least.

First of all, to keep this project in perspective, I’m fully aware that a sample size of around 60 is pretty small. But it’s definitely large enough to spot a few over-arching trends about people and their media habits. As I stated earlier, these days I see people falling in two distinct groups – the tech savvy ‘haves’ and the technology squeamish ‘have nots.’ I broke down my group of 60 into five age groups:

  • Age 60+ (6)
  • Age 50+ (10)
  • Age 40+ (19)
  • Age 30+ (15)
  • Age 15 – 30 (14)

Survey Scope: gauging our technical comfort zone.

As you can see by the number in parentheses, the largest number of respondents came from the 40+ age group (19), which says more about who is on my mailing list than anything else. Here are three things you need to know about the survey before any of my observations will make sense:

  1. Primary objective was to discern peoples’ comfort level with using technology in their daily business and personal lives.
  2. Yes/No questions were asked in sequential order from less technical to more technical; ‘reading a daily newspaper’ (less technical) to ‘posting a video to youtube’ (more technical) to ‘managing a network’ (even more technical).
  3. Respondents could a score up to 26 points, which should approximate someone’s technical comfort zone.  The two highest scorers overall had 25 points. Each missed only one — one had never attended a webinar, the other didn’t use social media. Both were under age 40.

Observation #1: Newspapers may be around a little while longer — For someone like me who enjoys the feel of print newspaper in hands as I sip my coffee in the morning, I am relieved that over half the people survey indicated that they read a daily print newspaper. However, 26 of the 31 responses came from ages 40 and up. No surprise there, but don’t count Star Trombone out just yet.

Observation #2: people would rather email talk on the phone — The question was Which of the following do you consider to be the most effective or satisfying for one-on-one personal communications? Turns out that while 46% indicated Meeting Face to Face as their #1 preference (whew!), but 28% indicated they prefer email, which eclipses talking on the phone (15%). If I’m reading this right, it’s disturbing to discover that more people actually prefer email communications to Face-to-Face or telephone. Scary to say the least.

Observation #3: social media rules — Over 80% surveyed indicated that they currently use social media, facebook in particular. Twitter hasn’t quite caught on, and was most popular in 30+ age group (63%). Surprisingly four of six in the 60+ age group claimed to use Facebook.

Observation #4: more folks read books and watch TV — Now, I for one find this hard to believe. Really? I’m lucky if I read more that 3-4 books a year, but always watch at least an hour of tube each day. I guess it goes to show you, never overthink what you think people think. Or, it just may be there’s nothing good on TV, even though most of us have thousands of channels to choose from.

Observation #5: 30+ age group is the most tech savvy — The question: Are you comfortable troubleshooting simple technical issues with your desktop applications (ie., MS Office)? 100% of the 30+ age group answered yes to this question, compared with 61% for ages 15-30, 57% for 40+ and about 50% for 50+.Not only that, but over 80% of the 30+ group also have claimed to have operated a blog as well.

Observation #6: Internet #1 source of news — When asked their primary source of news, 45% chose the internet, with newspapers surprisingly getting 28%, followed by TV with 16%, and radio with a meager 6%. Somehow, I expected radio to be higher, but with ipods, smartphones and devices available to stay in touch with everything, it just makes sense. What is the future of radio anyway?

Observation #7: Smartphones have taken over — No big surprise here, as 72% of us now use iPhones, Droids or whatever. The smartphone has become an extension of the human persona, in all ages groups across the board.

There is so much more to share about this, but who has the time? I would really appreciate your comments and/or questions below.