Let’s start by completing the last part of Question 1: your country of current residence.
Not surprisingly, most of my readers hail from the UK: 69% of them, to be precise. The USA counts for 15%, Europe for 9%, and there were also three Irish readers, two Australians and one lone Canadian. (Hi, asta!) As for Africa, Asia and South America: nichts, nada, nuffink. (Although this might have been different before the end of last week, when my sister returned to the UK after spending several months in the Sudan.)
The comparatively small proportion of US readers (there were 14 in all) comes as no surprise; in fact, I was expecting even fewer. In the early days of the blog, when there were far fewer of us to spread around, quite a lot of Americans came visiting – spurred on by some early support from a few of the better known US gay bloggers of the day. Accordingly, I made a conscious effort to avoid overdoing the unfamiliar Briticisms and obscure pop-cultural references, providing explanations and links whenever they were needed. But as British blogging picked up steam, and more British readers started visiting, so I grew weary of going the extra mile for the Yanks. It just didn’t seem worth the effort any longer. And so, gradually, the focus of the blog became more explicitly biased towards the UK.
However, I don’t think that’s the whole story. Looking at the readership of some of the other long-standing Britblogs, I’ve noticed a similar diaspora. Consequently, the Atlantic feels wider than ever these days. Is this simply due to the explosion in blogging that has taken place since the autumn of 2001? Or is it also due to other factors – also connected to the events of late 2001 – which have served to alienate us from our American cousins, cooling our natural friendly curiosity and replacing it with an icy – if not downright wary – indifference?
I think you know of what I speak. And don’t get me wrong: I’m not proud of this new, subtle, frequently unacknowledged prejudice, which has crept into the mindsets of many Brits of a more “liberal” persuasion over the last three years or so. But I think it’s there, and I think we shouldn’t be afraid of acknowledging that it’s there. Because once we acknowledge it, then maybe we can begin to find new ways of challenging it.
Goodness, but I’m rambling. Where were we?
2. UK readers only: please state your county of current residence (or major city, if applicable). US readers only: please state your state of current residence.
Of the 59 UK readers who replied:
- 17 (29%) live in London.
- 30 (51%) live in the rest of England.
- 11 (19%) live in Scotland.
Just one reader lives in Wales, and there were no readers at all from Northern Ireland.
The percentage of London based readers is strikingly high; even when taken as a percentage of the entire readership, London still racks up 18%. Evidence of Troubled Diva’s cosmopolitan, metropolitan au courant-iness, perchance? As for the “local” brigade: the survey unearthed just six people from Nottinghamshire, and one from Derbyshire – further proof that the people who see me the most often in real life are the people least likely to be reading me on a regular basis. (It’s a commonly observed phenomenon.)
Other than that, the readership was fairly evenly spread throughout England and Scotland, with a little pocket of support in Lancashire, and notably less support in the South West. In fact, what with this and the absence of Welsh and Northern Irish appeal, there is a distinct Easterly slant to my readership. Nobody ever talks about East/West divides in this country, do they? Well, here’s one to chew over…
This strange Easterly bias is further borne out by my American readership, with six readers on the East coast, five in the middle, and just one on the West coast. But then I think we’ve always been more East Coast hip & edgy than West Coast laid-back & cool.
Sheesh, enough already. Isn’t it amazing what you can extrapolate from a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet, if you put your mind to it? And you thought this was just going to be a geeky stats-fest? Er, so did I. There’ll be more results as we get them. Don’t go changing!