About a week ago, I created a short survey to get a little feedback on how Chookooloonks is going. It's been almost exactly a year since I did my latest, most radical redesign; also, it had been almost 3 years since my last survey, so I was long overdo.
God bless you, you guys came through for me -- and I can't tell you how grateful you are that you've shared your thoughts with me. As of this writing, I've got just under 280 individual responses, and as promised, I wanted to share the results with you, and how I'm processing them. I'll continue to keep the survey open, so if you'd still like to add your $0.02, I'm thrilled to have your feedback. I used Survey Monkey to conduct the survey, and the following are the results in graphical form that I exported from their site.
To those of you who are brand new, welcome, friends! I'm thrilled you're here: I think you'll find that there's a very kind, positive community at Chookooloonks. I was actually really surprised that more than half of you have been coming here between 1 to 5 years -- and I'm very flattered that you've hung around. Please keep me honest, and let me know what works for you, okay?
And for those of you who have been visiting me over 5 years -- thank you, old friends. You guys have seen so many changes in my life and my family's life, and that you've stuck with me is incredibly gratifying. I was particularly moved by the person who left this comment:
"I came on board way back when it was a story of Alex's adoption -- my son is about the same age ..."
That was about 10 years ago -- and I'm so touched that you've been with me for the ride. Thank you.
Back when I first started blogging, the only way to see what someone was sharing on their site was to bookmark it -- but nowadays, there are so many forms of social media out there to share information, it can be pretty overwhelming to know which platform works best. This question gave me a ton of insight into this, so I'm really grateful for these responses. I was also heartened that of the 64 folks who also left a comment on this question, an overwhelming majority of you (about 80%) visit by coming directly to Chookooloonks.com -- I work really hard to try to make Chookooloonks as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so I feel like it pays off. Thanks so much.
(Incidentally, if you'd like to be notified of new posts on Facebook, you can "like" my page here, or you can follow me on Twitter, or click here to have new post directly sent to your email inbox.)
(Under the "other (please specify)" heading, most responded "whenever you post.")
This is another really interesting result to me: for the most part, I post 5 days a week, with each post scheduled to go live at midnight central US time. But recently, there have been times when I want to skip a day -- or even post twice in one day. Knowing that almost 70% of people don't visit daily gives me some leeway to play with timing.
I don't know that I'm going to change my posting schedule, but this has given me food for thought. Thanks for that.
Really loved your responses here -- I love that you enjoy the photos, and that you stop by for a pick-me-up -- but the answers under "Other (please elaborate)" were what got me. Overwhelmingly, you said that you visit Chookooloonks because you find positivity here -- which is just the best thing ever. (In fact, one incredibly kind person said, "I think of your blog as yoga for my senses" -- that might be the most lovely thing anyone has ever said about Chookooloonks, and it's my new personal goal to ensure it continues to feel this way!) In social media, it would be very easy to start believing that positivity isn't popular anymore -- thanks so much for proving to me that it's still very much desired.
Not planning on changing my outlook here on Chookooloonks, not one little bit.
I'm so glad that so many of you are getting what you hope from Chookooloonks -- but I hear you on the request for more stories and technical photo stuff (in fact, most of the comments under the "anything you'd like to add" section requested more stories). I'll definitely see how I can work both in on a more frequent basis. Thanks for that feedback.
This was also really interesting to me -- lots of different subjects people want to see more of! Because this is a pretty widely spread distribution (and most of the comments related to having in-person workshops or speaking gigs), I'll focus on the top three: online courses, journaling workshops and photography retreats. I don't have anything in mind yet, but since you've expressed an interest, I'll definitely start brainstorming on how I can make one or more of them happen.
And finally, the last question invited any feedback that you might have felt wasn't covered in the previous 6 questions. I'm overwhelmed by the very sweet and positive sentiments you shared about me and my work -- I'm so seriously grateful. I've also read every single one of them, and will continue to as they come in. But I also wanted to share with you a few comments that definitely made me think:
"I would love it if Karen talked some more about vision and voice in both her writing and photography. I love it when artists tell us why they have made the choices they have, what they were going for, and whether they think they got it."
I do love this, and can certainly talk a bit more about my creative process. Thanks for the suggestion!
"Yes -- as a photographer, I enjoy following Karen and seeing how her photography has evolved over the years. The only thing I could as is for her to consider using the term 'make photographs' or 'make images' rather than 'shoot.' 'Make photographs' is much softer and is used by many photographers to describe what they do. It's a simple change that makes a big difference."
I had never even considered this language before -- isn't that funny? I'm sure I've always used the word "shoot" just as a shorthand for "make photographs," but I love the idea behind this bit of constructive feedback. Will definitely take it on board. Thanks for opening my mind!
"Would like to hear you speak again. Could you get on some lecture tour ... colleges and universities. Do some speaking at something other than conventions."
I actually do speak at colleges and universities, as well as corporations -- only a small part of my speaking is at workshops and conferences. If you'd like to get in touch with me to speak at your organization (you can learn more about what I do here), please feel free to contact me!
"This is totally random, but I love it when you take pictures of your coffee cup in a cafe. It's like a vicarious vacation for me, a small respite from work. For some reason, those images are so tactile, I can almost smell the coffee."
Thank you so much! I don't know that I'll post more coffee photos than I do (I feel like I overdo it, already!), but I take your point about "vicarious vacations." Perhaps I should figure out how to infuse my photos with more of that feeling. Good food for thought.
"Thank you and stay zaza."
Ha! You too, my friend.
Seriously, friends, thanks so much for such meaty feedback -- this definitely gives me a lot to focus on! I hope you enjoyed reading what everyone had to say. And again, I so love how kindly you shared your thoughts, your generosity is greatly appreciated.
And with that, I return you to your regularly scheduled Chookooloonks.