Friday, May 18, 2007


Jackie left some interesting thoughts on a comment a while ago on my post about knitting blogs. I figure I'd answer here.

I wonder if it's that scientists are overrepresented in the knitting world (and vice versa) or that scientists are more likely to blog about it, as Jackie suggests. Huh. I wonder how I could figure out which it is. Could be both.

As for knitters/scientists not being bloggers. The numbers for online forums go like this: 90% of people are lurkers, and only read but never contribute; 9% contribute every once in while; 1% are regular contributers and basically write the majority of the content. If blogs are like forums, and we already know that the vast majority of blogs that get started are neglected pretty early on and hardly ever get regularly posted to (this would be the 9%), then multiplying regularly updated knitting blogs by 100 would get you the number of knitters around. I think this is a very conservative estimate, though. I think starting a blog has a higher activation energy threshold than commenting on a forum, i.e, it's more work to start a blog than to simply type up a comment on a forum. So probably the number of people who start blogs is much, much less than 10% of people who read them. So the number of knitters around is much higher than 100 times the number of regular bloggers.

Of course, then you have to add in the number of people who don't even read knitting blogs.


Worsted_knitt said...

Thats a lot of math, but I'm proud to declare that I'm not afraid at all.
Would be interesting to know hoe many knittrs in ten actually read knitting blogs/internet knitting sites - maybe a magazine questionnaire.? Would be fun to know - other than that I think your logic is very good.

Averil said...

I thought I´d out myself as being a lurker.. The whole blogging world is new to me so it feels a bit weird like I´m reading someone´s diary when I shouldn´t.. That´s why I never posted before. Let me introduce myself. My name is Averil. I´m Irish but I live in Madrid (where it feels a bit like Monsoon season at the moment. Incredible downpours and thunder storms.)I´ve recently restarted knitting after many years and I´ve been really surprised at how big the knitting community is online, and I´m slowly learning who the knitting celebrities are! I really like reading your posts, especially the one today about the yarn protector!

Lien said...

Hi Averil! (By the way, that is a great name.)Thanks for introducing yourself. I think I've personally met everyone who reads this blog, so you're the first "random" reader. Awesome.

Erin said...

Hello, here via the Worldwide Knit in Public site [I'm going to be in Boston on the 9th, but in Ireland the next day]. I'm another knitting scientist--a computational linguist, to be specific. I can report that blogs are like forums in the way you surmise: the distribution of posts over posters is Zipfian. We talked about this in a class I took. (Link in lieu of a nice graph: I know there's a slide with a graph somewhere, but I haven't been able to locate it. My advisor has cited it in several presentations.)

Lien said...

Oh my God, Erin. The stuff in your link is fascinating. Fascinating, I tell you!

It makes me want to go back to school. Just to study random interesting crap like this.

jacqueline said...

wow, you responded to one of my blustery comments with a whole new blog post, and I didn't even notice until 2 months later!!!

dang, I suck.

just to add in my $0.02 on blog community habbits... I do have my own blogs, but I only tend to comment on blogs of people I am already friends with.

I wonder if I'm normal in that kind of behavior?