A few weeks ago I launched a discussion on this site that became buzzable. The topic was pretty simple, “What else do you like besides comics?” It was an attempt by me to figure out what qualifies as general interest, and the response was quite literally overwhelming. After 348 comments I realized it might be a good idea to actually get this torrent organized. So that’s what I did.
I sifted through all 348 comments cataloguing what people said they were interested in. There were lots of instances where people listed a few different things, and in those cases I took the first interest they wrote for fear of skewing the data towards long winded commenters. However, in many cases someone would reply to a comment to express an interest in one of the other topics listed in the original comment. So the reply tally hopefully offset any loss of data by only using the first response. There’s probably some things that I missed, and a few instances of double-counting, but I tried my best and don’t claim this is a rigorous scientific analysis.
After adding all the responses to a spreadsheet, I decided upon some categories. These were purposefully as broad as possible to try and find trends within the minutiae. Even still, I wound up with a large number of categories including: Academics, Adverstising, Anime/Manga, Arts/Crafts, Comedy, Entertainment, Exercise, Food/Drink, Games, History, Music (listening), Music (playing), Other, Outdoors, Psuedoscience, Reading, Sports (playing), Sports (watching), Technology, Video Games, and Writing.
Hopefully those are pretty self-explanatory, but if you really want to know how I categorized a specific comment I suppose you could ask in the comments of this post and I’ll let you know. I will let everyone know that the 1 response I put as “other” was “religious prayer cards” because I thought it was unique and didn’t quite fit anywhere else.
Results and Discussion
The results can be seen in Table 1. The total is less than 348 because not every comment was expressing a particular interest. Some people commented on the article itself, while others asked for more information on an interest they may not have been familiar with.
There are a few things to notice in this table (and for those of you wishing for a pie chart, trust me, with this many categories it was a mess). Music (29%), entertainment (37%) (movies, TV, pro-wrestling, etc.) and academics (21%) are the predominant interests amongst the iFanbase. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Entertainment was one of the broader categories, but music and entertainment are both easily classified as “general interest” so I wasn’t shocked to see them towards the top. Academics, however, is a bit more fringe. Considering the fact that I could have easily lumped History in with Academics (13% + 21% = 33%) it could have rivaled Entertainment (37%) itself. I think this means that we really are some serious nerds, which I think is a good thing.
Sports, unsurprisingly, was a very popular response (24%). What I didn’t expect was the breakdown between playing (7%) and watching (17%), I figured most people would be watchers, and fewer would be players, so that was encouraging to someone like me (not a value judgment on the sports enthusiasts, just my own personal opinion).
We have far fewer tech nerds than I thought (6%, and traditional board and card games (17%) dominated video games (4%). I knew there wasn’t a huge overlap between gaming and comics culture, but I was surprised how deep a rift there seems to be. I know plenty of you probably game regularly, but if you didn’t report it as a first choice interest it wasn’t counted, sorry.
The rest of the categories all hover between 0.5% and 4% of the group. I expected more crafts folks in our crowd (8%), but maybe I don’t know you all as well as I ought to. I was surprised a few people still put reading (9%) down as an interest outside comics. I know what they meant (and they were usually more specific in their actual comment) but it just struck me as odd that people would distinguish comics from reading, yet I’m sure many do.
From these data I can conclude that the iFanbase is really quite a diverse bunch of folks. Our collective Venn diagram may keep us all connected via comics, but outside our four-color habit we seem to be up to some neat stuff. Remember these results the next time you feel pigeon-holed as a comic nerd, or if you think no one else shares your love of scented candles. It’s all out there, and even the things that you think are true “general interest” generally hold sway over less than a 1/4 of our cabal.
I hope you found this little crowd-sourced sociological study as interesting as I did. And I further hope this openness about other interests brings some new flavors towards reading the comments of folks you now know aren’t as one-dimensional as the characters on the page.