As media trends accelerate towards citizen-journalism and blogger-created news content, a new national survey again validates that gay and lesbian adults online today are among the nation's most loyal and heaviest blog readers and social network users.
According to a recent national survey conducted online by Harris Interactive, a majority of gay and lesbian adults are reading blogs. More than half (54%) of gay men and lesbian respondents report reading some type of blog, compared to only 40% of heterosexuals. This represents an incremental increase from March 2008 when 51% of gay and lesbian respondents reported reading some type of blog.
A similar question was asked in November 2006 and at that time, only 32% of gay and lesbian adults reported reading blogs.
When it comes to the types of blogs popular with Americans, the survey also found 36% of gay and lesbian adults read news and current issue blogs, compared to 25% of heterosexual adults. A quarter (25%) of gay and lesbian adults also read entertainment and pop culture blogs, compared to 16% of heterosexuals.
Considering the global and media attention focused on American politics and the Obama presidency, 22% of gay and lesbian adults also read political blogs, compared to just 14% of heterosexual adults. Confirming their sustained strong connection with travel news and opportunities, 16% of gay and lesbian respondents report reading travel blogs, compared to 8% of heterosexual respondents.
Not surprising, over one third (35%) of all lesbian and gay male adults report they read blogs specifically tailored for gay and lesbian news and interests.
More than half (53%) of these readers also say they visit gay and lesbian blogs weekly, and one in five (19%) do so daily. Michael Rogers, veteran gay blogger and media activist reported that these findings mirror his experience: "My own work tells me gay men and lesbians have tremendous need and appetite for authentic gay news and information, and they want it fast. As director of the National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative, I work with scores of bloggers to enhance skills, improve delivery and content and grow connections with a very receptive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audience across the U.S."
The new nationwide survey of 2,412 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 271 self identified as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian and gay adults), was conducted online between June 14 and 21, 2010, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.
Apart from avidly reading blogs, gay and lesbian adults also are choosing to connect online through social networking sites more often than their heterosexual counterparts. A remarkable three-quarters (73%) of gay and lesbian adults state they are members of Facebook, compared to 65% of heterosexual adults. Also, 32% of gay and lesbian respondents report being members of MySpace, compared to 22% of heterosexual respondents (albeit a shrinking number of both groups from past years). When it comes to the business-oriented social networking site, LinkedIn, 22% of gay and lesbian respondents report being members, while 16% of heterosexual adults state they are members. Finally, nearly 3 out of 10 (or 29%) gay men and lesbians report they are members of Twitter, while the same can be said of just 15% of heterosexual adults.
Significantly, 55% of gay men and lesbians say they visit social network sites at least once a day - but only 41% of heterosexual adults report that same frequency. Three out of ten gay men and women also say they visit sites several times a day, while only 17% of heterosexuals share that habit.
"Over this past decade, through many comparative measures - we see first-hand that online media consumption for gays and lesbians is strong and growing stronger," said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. "A majority of LGBT households are hungrier than ever to stay well informed and to expand their social, professional and personal connections online. In today's uncertain economy, and with companies and organizations competing for share of attention, it is clear that blogs and social networking sites have not only come of age for gay America - but in many ways have become the virtual, new gay community centers and marketplace."