Social Media Poll, or How the Space Nerds Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Facebook

Yesterday I polled the public to figure out just what types of people follow the Google Lunar X PRIZE and X PRIZE space programs. The results were not out of the ordinary, but confirmed some important things about our fanbase, and about space geeks in general. So I decided to take it a little further....

This morning I posted a new poll, again via Twitter using Google Docs, about the various online media space nerds use to communicate. The response was excellent, with 42 completed polls in just over 2 hours. This poll was a little more in-depth, so I'll break it down piece by piece.

I should preface this breakdown with a few important caveats:

  1. This is extremely non-scientific

  2. I have no idea what type of people actually filled this thing out. I can only assume that if they were following the Google Lunar X PRIZE on Twitter they may be somewhat interested in space. As far as I can tell, all the retweets were by other space people.

  3. The poll is flawed: it is possible to either check the box "I don't use any of these" or to not check any boxes at all. Both of those answers would be identical in meaning, but statistically different. In addition, it is also possible to check "I don't use..." along with any of the other boxes.

  4. Bear in mind, as the images say, that because people may select as many boxes as are pertinent, the percentages add up to more than 100% in many cases

Without further ado.....



What's most impressive about this chart is that space geeks are not just reading about space, but writing about it too. Blogs are, as some might say, the mother of all social media, and it's great to see that so many space folks are actively involved in creating new content. Of course it may be that many of these blogs are personal or non-space related.

"Other": self-hosted, Joomla



This is a somewhat loaded question, since the only people who knew about this poll were already on Twitter (that was the delivery mechanism). Although strangely only 95% of people check the Twitter box (hmmm...). Facebook also has a sizable userbase here, and we will see why later. Pretty cool to see that FriendFeed has a decent userbase as well. Did you know you can follow the Google Lunar X PRIZE on FriendFeed?

"Other": self-hosted



Expected: YouTube with 93%.
Not expected: Ustream with 38%.

Possible explanation: the question is unclear. In the context of a site like YouTube or Ustream, does "use" mean "watch" or "post" or some combination of the two? I would have to guess that most users interpreted this as watching rather than uploading (who hasn't watched a video on YouTube in the last week?). But then again, it is entirely possible that many folks out there are using these services to deliver video content. I know our good friends at SpaceVidcast use several of these, including Ustream for the live show. We even used Ustream way back last May to livestream the announcement of our new teams at our first Team Summit.

"Other": Flickr,



Nothing here is terribly unexpected. Facebook is still the reigning photo champion worldwide (did you know there are over 10 billion photos on Facebook?). Good to see that Picasa and Flickr made a good showing here too. We are (obviously) big fans of Picasa.

"Other": Zooomr, self-hosted, Photobucket

Social Bookmarking


What I find most interesting about these data is the fairly even spread among several services. While Digg has a slightly higher number of users, Slashdot/Reddit/Delicious all have a good showing here too. All of these sites also have specific sections dedicated to science/space.

It should probably also be noted how many people don't use these services at all. If we add the number of people who didn't choose any answer at all, it comes to 14/42 = 33%. This is higher than any other type of service.

"Other": user did not fill in the text box.



This is the one that is closest to my heart, though perhaps not very closely related to space/science (unless you count awesome songs about space). We don't have any official Google Lunar X PRIZE profiles on these services, but I can tell you I've been an avid user since 2004 (my scrobbling data still cracks me up every time I start digging through it).

Though there is a high number of people who don't use any of these services, I'm glad to see that many space geeks are also music fans. Also many users filled out the "other" category....

"Other": Slacker, Jamendo, Magnatunes, Cohearing,, other internet radio stations.

Social Networks


I was very surprised to see that only 12% of users are on MySpace. Facebook only recently caught up to MySpace in terms of global market share, but MySpace still dwarfs FB in the United States. Could it be? Is the X PRIZE international readership growing? Well, these data don't indicate that, necessarily, although the small showings for Orkut and Bebo indicate that it is possible (both of those have primary userbases outside of the United States).

And just for good measure, here are some links to our sites on social networks:

Several of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have active communities on Facebook. Dig around, I'm sure you'll find them.

On a final note, I should point out that there are a whole lot of other types of services that are not included in this poll, such as wikis or document sharing sites or virtual worlds. Many users added those in the write-in box at the end of the poll (I've left them out for brevity's sake, which I clearly have already shunned).

joshatkins said...

Great, thanks Mike (and love the parody post titles recently :)

aubtiger1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
QuarkSpin said...

Ah -- the joys (and pitfalls) of trying to put together a survey/poll. VERY interesting results. The one thing that you can take away from this (and what you alluded to) is that the group polled not only has a passion for all things space but they also take the time to use the resources at hand to get others enthused/informed as well. Good job, Mike!

blog comments powered by Disqus