As promised on the Leica User Forum I spend some words on what I have learned about human behavior on the social web from the discussion threads on the forum. This blog will be dedicated to that aspect and will therefore not be on either Leica cameras, lenses or the film that some of us like to use.
In parallel to each of the surveys there have been discussion threads. These two discussion threads were viewed 3797 times over the period that the surveys were open (1576 views for the lens survey, 1221 views for the film survey). One hundred responses were provided by in total 38 forum members; 20 (of the 100) reactions were provided by myself.
In order to understand the responses on the forum I have classified them as follows:
- Survey Management (announcement of the survey etc.): 17 posts by 1 user
- Opinion about the idea of gathering information using a survey: 21 posts by 17 users
- Positive/constructive opinion about this/these particular survey(s): 12 posts by 10 users
- Negative/non-constructive opinion about this/these particular survey(s): 18 posts by 11 users
- Off-topic and/or incomprehensible: 33 posts by 19 users
The topics that were discussed around the methods of surveys in general were (1) the possible use/abuse of the data gathered, (2) the value of surveys as a mechanism to retrieve valuable information, and (3) the possibility that someone earns money with the Google ads on one of the survey sites used. Positive comments on the survey were in line with my original expectation, people shared that they were also interested to get an idea about the questions being asked.
The negative comments concentrated around the aspect that the survey provided cumbersome support for some key pieces of relevant information. Data about historic Leica lenses in the lens survey and information about Kodak Tri-X and Plus-X in the film survey had to be provided using the "Other Field". Although it should not have happened, it was kind of revealing what types of negative reactions it triggered. As a consequence I have studied quite a some materials on the web about forum behavior and moderation. That activity in itself was worth the exercise. By reading these materials I have learned a lot about all kinds of aspects of human behavior that occur on the social web.
Over half of the comments of the "off-topic and/or incomprehensible" category consisted of reactions on the note that I made around the "film survey". When launching the survey I stated: "Classical analogue photography seems to be under pressure". This statement alone provided a whole series of reactions, mainly from people that disagree with this statement. Although I have a warm heart for analogue photography, it still amazes me that some people on the Leica User Forum react so emotionally on such a statement. Either my assessment is entirely wrong, or these people live, work and take pictures in a world that is quite different than mine.
So overall, I learn by doing these surveys about lens, camera and film statistics, but also about how people react and behave on the social web. This is for me a very valuable experience, and therefore I would like to thank again all that have participated.