Cognitive Daily

Simon Owens has posted the results of his survey of diversity in the blogosphere at his site Bloggasm.

Here are the results for the blogosphere as a whole:

Male: 69%
Female: 31%
White/Caucasian/European: 73%
Black/African: 9%
Asian: 10%
Middle Eastern/Arab: 1%
Latino/Hispanic: 6%
Native American: 1%

This seems about right to me, based on anecdotal experience. Simon also broke down his results by niche. Here are the findings for science blogs (which presumably includes CogDaily’s response):

Male: 71%
Female: 29%
White/Caucasian/European: 88%
Black/African: 6%
Asian: 6%

One thing I find interesting about this result is the low number of Asians who science blog — lower even than the blogosphere as a whole. It’s possible that the sample size of science blogs was too small to get a reliable result, but I’d have to say that my personal experience bears this out as well. We know there are lots of Asian scientists; where are the Asian science bloggers?

Also, it appears from Simon’s sample that women are over-represented among science bloggers: 29 percent, compared to “about one fifth” of the science workforce, according to the recent NAS report.

I do have some questions about Simon’s methodology: how were the 1,000 blogs for the study selected? Clearly he didn’t just select the Technorati top 1,000 — we wouldn’t have made the cut then. Was an effort made to capture the “long tail” of the blogosphere — those millions of less popular blogs that make up the vast majority of blogs overall? And what was the response rate? Is it possible that diversity was over- or under-represented because of this?

That said, the study is an impressive accomplishment, certainly the most thorough accounting of diversity of blogosphere that I’ve seen. I’d add only one point, which I made in my survey response as well: the sheer size of the blogosphere allows anyone to have a diverse experience, whether or not this experience reflects the diversity of the blogosphere as a whole. Even if there are relatively few women science bloggers, I can choose to read proportionately more of them. My experience of the blogosphere doesn’t have to be the same as the blogosphere’s actual composition.