The OF Blog: Interesting Poll Results

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interesting Poll Results

Last Saturday on a whim, I thought I'd add a poll question asking readers to identify to which age group they belonged. Although I suspected this blog would likely have slightly-older readers than many of the others that I read, the results were quite surprising.

For the past few years, it seems I have been one of the older "independent" (i.e. not an author or directly connected to the SF/F publishing industry) bloggers who frequent epic fantasy-centered forums. I only just turned 34 last week, however. In teaching, I am only now beginning to enter into the "veteran" stage of my career and for the first time, I am older than more than 1-3 other teachers. In some ways, I am "new," but in regards to certain parts of the SF/F scene (again, those forums I frequent), I am well above the average age.

So when the median age out of the 118 people who voted was on the edge between the pre-31 and post-30 groups (58 voters being younger than 31 and 60 being older than 30), it cheered me up a bit, to be honest. I was beginning to worry that perhaps I was blogging about the concerns and interests of those older than the presumed average age of those who frequent forums. In addition, what struck me were the number of people (19, or 16% of those voting) who were over the age of 50. Considering that my age cohort were the first to be introduced to computers as children (I first got to use an Apple IIe in 1982, just after I had turned 8) and I have experienced so many stages of technological growth that have closely corresponded with my adolescence and adulthood (Macs becoming popular at the end of elementary, not to mention CDs, on to Pentiums when I was finishing college and beginning grad school, etc.), to see people whose formative years were before the advent of such rapid-fire advances adapt and to use all of the same things that I use on an everyday basis (and take for granted) is a comforting thought.

But I'm curious: How would you interpret the poll results? Was there anything surprising about it to you?


Tia Nevitt said...

I think if I were to try such a poll, I would have similar results. I didn't see your poll because I read your blog through a reader, but I would have been in the 41 through 45 age group, making me a virtual granny in the SF blogging world.

You amused me with your computer reminisces. I didn't own a computer until 1986 when I purchased an IBM clone. No modem, no hard drive, just dual floppy disk drives.

In about 1978, my dad was allowed to bring home--for one night only--a small computer. He had to program the thing just to say "Hello World" since it didn't have any power-off memory. We kids were unimpressed. It looked like a glorified calculator, but it was MUCH harder to use.

Lsrry said...

Yeah, I remember those days well. My first home computer was a used TRS-80 Model III, with a whopping 16K of memory and a data tape player. Those were the days, huh? :P

Remember those magazines that had BASIC programs included where you could type them in and have your own little computerized program running? Of course, it usually couldn't be saved, but oh well...those were the days :P

Gabriele Campbell said...

My first computer was an Atari. Got it in 1981, and I was pretty much the only student in our university to have a computer of her own. It has its advantages to have a geek father and a geek brother. :)

I still have fond memories about it; it did some things Winword took years to introduce, like a feature to define your own letters (very useful if you work with Mediaeval Icelandic manuscripts).

Tia, us 41-45ies are more rare than the even older readers, and that's what surprised me.

Lsrry said...

Yeah, it was interesting to see that dip in the early 40s range, as I would have thought it would have peaked in the late 20s and steadily declined.

And I remember playing around with an Atari 400 one time when I was staying at someone's house when I was 8 or 9.

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