So first, how about some more cold hard facts from the 2010 reader survey?
- Y'all are social media geeks! 40% of you have a blog and 40% of you use twitter. 20% of you use our Facebook fan page to follow Offbeat Bride updates, and 20% of you use RSS.
- You're mostly urban, with two thirds of you identifying as living in a large or small city.
- Y'all are faithful: 50% of you said there were no other wedding websites you read as frequently as Offbeat Bride. Aww. That made me feel all warm and snuggly inside
- Working with indie businesses is important to almost 70% of you, which is AWESOME — although don't lie, girls: I know a ton of you buy your dresses at that chain that rhymes with Cravid's Fidal. 😉
- Some of y'all have long engagements planned:
My very favorite question on the survey was “Do you identify with any offbeat subcultures?” With my illustrious undergraduate degree in Sociology, I make no secret of the fact that Offbeat Bride is in part a way for me to have a steady stream of subcultural stimulation. Metalhead! LARPer! Fanfic author! Lolita! Rollerderby girl! Rivethead! Straight edge! I am NONE of these things, but am obsessed with all of them.
I encouraged y'all to check as many cultural identity boxes as you felt applied, and here's how Offbeat Bride readers identify:
Unsurprisingly to me (but perhaps shocking to y'all) 50% of you identify as “Offbeat LITE,” which I defined as “a little quirky, but not really into any subcultures.” OBB LITEs, I love you, and here's why: I love that y'all are getting so much inspiration from the freakier side of wedding planning. There are lots of people who find folks “weirder” than them intimidating, and I really appreciate how many offbeat bride readers are able to say “Huh — a cosplay wedding isn't really MY thing, but I still read Offbeat Bride.” The world needs more tolerant awesomes like y'all!
In terms of subcultures, the most popular were DIY/Crafts, Geek, Retro, Gamer (yay nerds!), Hippie, Punk, Rockabilly, Fantasy, Goth, and Steampunk. But predictably, a huge chunk of you opted to write in your own desciptors and lordy ladies, that was AWESOME!
Let's go down the offbeat alphabet, shall we? We've got academics and artists, bohemians and burlesque dancers, comic book fans and circus freaks, drama queens and eco-nuts, lots of feminists and a few fandom folks, glam and gothic lolitas, hardcore and homesteaders, indies and jugglers, kink/BDSM and librarians, nerds and pagans, queers and rockers, sci-fi fans and surfers, theater geeks and tree huggers, vegans, vikings, and lots of vintage. WHEW! Lots of you also said things like “I'm just me,” which is awesome. I'm all for eschewing labels. But oh man. The sociologist/demographer in me LOVES LABELS. I love all of you freaks, and look forward to learning more about your corners of culture through your beautiful weddings.
The final question I asked y'all was what Offbeat site we should think about launching next. In a landslide victory, y'all said OFFBEAT HOME. This is interesting to me, because it means basically following theknot's template of wedding planning, homemaking, and babies. I love all three of these things, and am totally stoked about the idea of Offbeat Home and indeed am already scheming about it…but.
BUT! I can't deny that the feminine trinity of wedding, home, family feels uncomfortably traditional. I mean, I guess that's what Offbeat is all about: women find their ways through life transitions that are heavy with expectations and traditions. But I feel a little weird about the idea of a trio of Offbeat sites dedicated to the stereotypical path that young women have been force fed for centuries: get married, make a home, and start a family. Sure, I encourage y'all to do it in your own ways … but having a trio of website dedicated to those topics feels like an odd encouragement for women to keep doing the same things we've always been encouraged to do.
Maybe there's nothing wrong with that, but I can't deny it makes me a little uncomfortable to follow the knot/nest/bump template. I'm still scheming how awesome Offbeat Home would be, but I wanted to get my concerns off my chest…
Anyhoo, I could go on and on and on about the feedback we got from y'all … but this post is already too long. Mostly, thanks to each of you who took the time to share your opinions with me. It means so much to me that the website means so much to all of you.