The Results Are In: Reader Response to My 2019 Survey

The Results are In

The short version:

If you

  • remember how we met,
  • choose the blogs you follow by topic,
  • have shared at least one of my posts on social media,
  • do NOT usually check the little box that lets you follow the ongoing comment conversation, and
  • have NOT (yet) read my book …

… you fit the majority of my respondents. Congratulations.


The long version:

Most of you (74%) remember how we met.  I like that.

Another majority (60%) say the topic is the reason you choose the blogs you follow.

This question warrants an apology. This was the one (How do you choose the blogs you follow?) that offered multiple overlapping choices and only one answer.

In my defense, I had copied the survey template I used in an earlier year and didn’t realize it was formatted for one-answer-only. As a result, you had trouble fitting this year’s square peg question into that earlier year’s round hole format.  My apologies. I’ll try to pay better attention next time I do one of these.

A whopping 80% of you have shared at least one of my posts to social media.

I do thank you. For the one respondent who answered “I don’t know how,” I can only say two things:

(1) Do you see the line of social media icons at the end of each post? They appear under a small heading, “Sharing is Caring.”  Most of us do not have accounts with all those platforms, but usually we have at least one.  All you have to do is click on the icon of your choice (you’ll need to have an account) and poof, off it goes.  It has to do with magic: modern day magic.

(2) I forget what the other thing was.

Most of you DON’T usually get an email notification for further Comments or even for my reply if you left a comment.

The Nos (I get too much email already) tied the Sometimes at 42.1% each, leaving only 10.5% of you to click that little box all the time.

I thank the 10.5% and urge the remaining 5.2% who don’t know what I’m talking about to take a close look below this post, below the Comment area, just above the SUBMIT button. Why not practice today?  See it down there? Pop us off a quick Hello, and see what happens.

My query to those who never comment contained an unanticipated but logical glitch.

Turns out, if you don’t comment on the blog, the likelihood that you are going to comment on this question is pretty low. All but one respondent said they Comment, or left the N/A or some mark, since the set up was that you HAD to say something there.  Sorry ’bout that.  I did get one “No free time” response, so I send an extra thank you for reading the blog (and taking the survey).

Turns out I’ve got more books to sell. That’s the lemonade.

While a bit more than a third of you said they’d read my book (and most had left a review, thank you very much) a slight majority admitted they had not (yet) read my book. Not a problem.  Here’s the link directly to my website’s BOOKS page where you can read all the nice things people have said about it. (I don’t share the other ones.)

And, I’ll put the info box at the bottom of this post, just in case. Chop chop. Time’s a wastin’

Favorite posts?

I don’t think I’ve asked this question before, and I’m very glad I did. Three posts came up consistently in the responses. Do you remember these?

Is There a Clothesline in Your Backyard?

The Four Stages of Friendship

and my three-part series on race. Here’s the link to the final post, which will link you to the earlier ones: How Do We Talk About Race?

“Guest posts,” including Lindsay de Feliz’ recent one and even one for Sasha, got a few mentions. I’m very fortunate to have had a collection of great guests over the years, all willing to share their experiences of cultural difference.


You are an active lot, mostly over age 50 and proud of it.  Most of the respondents are also bloggers, the vast majority using WordPress, though no one distinguished between dotCOM and dotORG.

The number of non-bloggers who read my posts has gone up from earlier years and I’m pleased to see this.

Why does it matter if a reader is a blogger or not, you ask? Here’s what I think.

The blogging community is supportive and generous. And connecting with fellow bloggers is one of the best ways to spread one’s blogging presence. But, it feels a tad incestuous to me to when it’s only bloggers “talking” to and following fellow bloggers. (Some blogs are geared to fellow bloggers; that’s not what I’m talking about.) My starting goal back in 2013 was to reach 500 subscribers. Imagine the life I would lead if they were all bloggers wanting (and deserving) reciprocity!


Totally irrelevant photo of my house in the summer. As of April 3, 2019 we still have two feet of snow. But the air smells like spring. Sasha says hello.

I did get one very interesting response from a WP blogger who suggested I put my blog on WordPress “so I don’t have to sign in each time.” This concerns me because I can’t imagine what they mean.

If you recognize yourself here, I hope you’ll contact me (Contact Page) and let me know if this is still happening. I use the self-hosted WP platform, which unlike it’s DOTcom cousin, has me approve each commenter ONCE: the FIRST TIME  they use a browser, only.  Please let me know if this is an ongoing issue, from the same browser.

Conclusion: The downside of surveys

Have you noticed everyone and their cousin is surveying us these days? From candidates and nonprofits looking more for my money than my opinion, to service personnel and online companies I buy from, everyone wants my feedback.  It does get annoying.

Anne Karpf, writing in The Guardian a few years back, asked,  “When did companies get so needy?” It’s an entertaining OpEd, with some good points. I recommend it.

How about you?

  1. Don’t forget to click under that little Sharing is Caring button, which will share my post to one of your social media platforms. Just choose one (or more) and off it goes. Of course, I understand this may not be the best post for that.
  2. Don’t forget to click ABOVE the SUBMIT button, that will get you listening in to the ensuing conversation that typically occurs over the next few days.  (Well, you’ll get an email; your choice whether to pop back in or not.) AND, if you are a blogger, do click UNDER the SUBMIT button so we’ll get a link to your most recent blog post.
  3. And finally, here’s your chance to grab your copy of my first memoir, At Home on the Kazakh Steppe; A Peace Corps Memoir. Available in paperback, eBook, and audio. I’ve lowered the price for the paperback and eBook. Is it too early to stock up on holiday gifts?
[box] Interested in reading At Home on the Kazakh Steppe? I hope so.

Click here for the PAPERBACK, audio, and eBook versions from Amazon.

These are “affiliate links” and any purchases made by clicking on such links will result in a small commission for me, at no extra cost for you.

DON’T FORGET, you can always order the print version from your local independent bookstore.

Reviews are more important to authors today than ever before. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Short reviews  are just as valuable as long ones.  [/box]

12 Responses

  1. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    I don’t know how you can get non-bloggers to read a blog. Interesting that you’re thinking about that. Hope you find the key to it.

    I rarely share blog posts on social media, having been uneasy about doing it when I did it. I suppose I should get over myself and do more of it. I certainly read about a gazillion good blog posts a year.

    FYI, I always have to sign in each time I come here. Many blogs I visit are like that so I just do it. I figure it’s part of the process, I guess.
    Ally Bean recently posted…One Martini & I’m Rebelling Against My Own Arbitrary RuleMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Ally, thanks for starting us off.

      I don’t really know how to get non-bloggers to subscribe other than have a specific niche and write great posts and even better headlines. There are different schools of thought out there and when I was starting out, I assumed they were all talking about the same thing. But they aren’t. I followed the school that said a publishing house won’t pick me up (however good the book is) without thousands of blog followers. Then I read that book authors shouldn’t do blogs, just do social media and have 3,000 followers (minimum). The jury is still out on that idea, fortunately, for I had by then begun to really love writing my blog. You have a more popular niche, I think. You are upbeat and write about your life in a way that many, many can relate to. I don’t; not sure why. I think my particular interest can be a bit off-putting to many. It takes someone confident in themselves, I think, to consider alternative viewpoints. And while my subscribers have grown steadily over the years (though slowly), I don’t have enough to impress a publisher. I’m not sure I ever will, frankly; I’m running out of time. I do believe I’m depressed now.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The Results Are In: Reader Response to My 2019 SurveyMy Profile

  2. Susan Jackson
    | Reply

    Hi, I reply every time I read a blog but occasionally I do forget to check the notify me box before I hit submit—maybe because the type is so small—not your fault—I know it takes a lot of work for you to put up the blogs you write. I have read your book.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I know you have, Susan, and I appreciate the very nice review you gave too. Thank you.

      I’ve been doing some “backstage” detective work and made a few changes to the settings on the blog. Hopefully that will suffice to end any need to repeatedly sign in. I’d love to chat further about that.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The Results Are In: Reader Response to My 2019 SurveyMy Profile

  3. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — I am one of your readers who completed the survey and wondered when you’d share the results. Woohoo — they look great!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Soulful Prairies Peaceful RetreatMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Laurie. It’s nice to find a blogging community, though the downside, my webguru tells me, is that it’s harder for newbies to join in. Sigh. I remember your advice once about keeping my posts short. For whatever reason, that is hard for me. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…The Results Are In: Reader Response to My 2019 SurveyMy Profile

  4. Mildred LaBeur
    | Reply

    Interesting survey results.

  5. Janet Givens
    | Reply

    I’ve heard from a few of you separately that you must do something special before you can comment. I really do not want this. It should be easy to comment. That’s why I don’t use those annoying (and often unreadable) Captcha tests. But, I do want to keep both SPAM and unsolicited negativity off my posts, so for FIRST TIME commenters only, I maintain APPROVAL rights.

    The rest of this comment may be of more interest to WP bloggers, but feel free to peruse.

    This issue about needing to be approved or sign in with each comment had me baffled. It still does. Here’s how the setting appears on my WP Dashboard (Settings/Discussion),

    Before a comment appears
    Comment must be manually approved
    Comment author must have a previously approved comment

    I have only the second option checked.

    A second section might be pertinent.

    Other comment settings
    Comment author must fill out name and email
    Users must be registered and logged in to comment

    The first option, if not checked, allows for anonymous commenting. I didn’t want to encourage this, so it’s been checked. I wonder now, if I’d get more comments if I allowed anonymity (still guarding for spam, of course).

    The second option had been checked as well, though now I read that WP discourages this as “not necessary for most sites.” So I’ve unchecked it. We’ll leave it like this for awhile (you’ll read next week that I’ll be taking a break through the remainder of April).

    Further down, they also recommend I check the “Before a comment appears: manually approve all comments, even ones from folks I’ve heard from before.” However, I do not check this and hopefully, never will.

    Again, I appreciate all your feedback. Anytime. AND, keep in mind that the process may be different for subscribers than for WP followers. That I can’t figure out.
    Janet Givens recently posted…The Results Are In: Reader Response to My 2019 SurveyMy Profile

  6. Marian Wood
    | Reply

    Hi Janet, I have non bloggers following me on my Facebook but they rarely comment. It’s usually the blogging community that will read, comment and share.
    I am guilty of not signing up to emails if I can avoid it. I get so many and I can’t keep up. Usually wordpress will tell me if someone has responded..
    I think I started following you as a writing blog, I think..

    Very interesting survey and yes everywhere wants feedback now. I work for the NHS and have to give out surveys. I hope for nice feedback every time.. often if the patient has taken the form home it will not be completed.. yes surveys are annoying..
    Marian Wood recently posted…My characters, pantsing and planningMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Marian. Thanks for commenting here. It’s been awhile since I looked over this survey, but I do recall that the issue of who follows me — by that I meant who subscribes to my blog — was a surprise to me. I don’t want to appeal to only other bloggers. I have subscribed to about 150 blogs over the years I’ve been doing this. It’s surprising to me how many don’t last. And because I use gmail, they all go into a certain folder together and I access that one when I know I’ll have time. Some days that’s early in the morning; some days it’s mid afternoon, etc.

      My Facebook life is quite different. I use FB as a way to funnel folks to my website (where my blog lives). I love FB; it’s my “happy place” as an early social media guru I used would say. But I’ve sadly had to let that slide too as I try to get this current book off my desk.

      Glad you stopped in. Hope to see you again.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Summer BreakMy Profile

  7. Marian Wood
    | Reply

    I m not sure how many I’m subscribed to or following, but yes it is interesting how many give up.

    Sounds like your email is very organised.. and yes I did not have a notification that you had commented back.. will now tick the box..
    Marian Wood recently posted…My characters, pantsing and planningMy Profile

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