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some findings from ccMixter survey

permalink   Fri, Dec 3, 2010 @ 9:36 PM
As promised, I want to share some preliminary findings, based on the survey we posted in ccMixter forum. Please share your thoughts here. I would like to know how you interpret the results. All these findings are based on answers we got from 35 respondents, a small sample, so one should bear this in mind as this may not represent the average user of the site. To help us improve this sample by adding your perspective to it, check out the links at the bottom of this post. All the mean values reported below are out of 5. SD stands for Standard Deviation, a measure for how much individual responses deviate from the average.

First some simple math: The average age of our respondents is 39.9, and their average history of ccMixter membership is about 18 months. On average, they spent about 30 minutes in ccMixter everyday. They are actively engaged in interacting with other members and participating in remix on ccMixter. So, overall, our respondents, as expected, are primarily more seasoned and committed members of the community, who are quite active on the site, so bear this in mind when going though the summary. When asked about what motivates them to remix in ccMixter, most respondents feel that it is because remix is stimulating (Mean = 4.71), fun (Mean = 4.57) and satisfying (Mean = 4.57). Not surprisingly, the ‘fun factor’ seems to be the biggest reward people experience on the site then. But ccMixter is also a place for learning. Respondents identify that the ccMixter community is a good place for them to develop their music-related skills (Mean = 4.17, SD = 0.87). As a community with a lot of affordances for members to interact with each other, ccMixter is also identified by our respondents as a good place for social interaction and coordination (Mean = 3.48, SD = 0.83). Specifically, they feel that they can meet new friends with common interests (Mean = 3.66), and they can find future collaborators for some projects (Mean = 3.89).

One of the interesting findings we have is that, even though ccMixter is primarily an online music community, our respondents feel like the community can provide them some other, broader gratifications which are not limited to music. We call it general skills (Mean = 3.32, SD = 1.16), such as they find that ccMixter can help them to learn things about themselves and others (Mean = 3.29), and also help them to learn how to do things which they haven’t done before (Mean = 3.80). We have some evidence from this community and from others where we are conducting similar surveys that the development of these ‘general skills’ may not be what primarily attracts members to a creative community but may be more essential in making one an effective community member. Other gratifications (self expression, recognition, and others) are present, although apparently not as prominent in our respondents.

Since our project is also interested in finding out what types of community organization develop over time, we also asked respondents how they perceive their agency in the ccMixter community (i.e. their ability to influence outcomes that are relevant to them), whether they perceive any imbalance of influence between community members, and in general how they perceive the structure of the community. Based on their answers, the mean value of perceived agency is pretty high, which is 4.20 (SD = 0.76), indicating that they feel like they have enough control over what music they choose to upload (Mean = 4.52), what music they choose to remix (Mean = 4.48), who they choose to work with in the ccMixter community (Mean = 4.45), and that they feel their opinions and actions matter in the community (Mean = 3.35). The last value though is notably lower than the other indicators, suggesting that while users enjoy some sense of agency with respect to music-making, there are some limitations, perhaps when it comes to other community functions. At the same time, they also perceive some structure embedded in the community (Mean of perceived imbalance = 3.58, SD = 1.10; Mean of perceived hierarchy = 3.48, SD = 0.77). The structure of imbalance refers to control of information flow, and the imbalance of members’ roles and responsibilities. The perceived value for hierarchy indicates that these respondents feel that some members exert much more influence in the community than others (Mean = 4.32), while on the other hand they do perceive the community as whole as being only somewhat centralized (Mean = 3.35).

I will post some other findings soon, in order to avoid making this posting long and annoying. :)

A big thanks again to all ccMixters who have helped us with the survey so far. As the data collection and analysis is still ongoing, if you are new readers of my posting, do check the survey link and contribute your responses. Here is the link, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ccMixter_survey. Also, for those ccMixters who filled out an older version of the survey but didn’t fill out the newer one yet, please check this link with the version that contains only the new questions: http://www.surveymonkey.com... .

Ivan Chew
permalink   Tue, Dec 7, 2010 @ 9:54 AM
Thanks for posting the summary of your findings, Rong. I thought the summary results are representative of my own responses to your survey.

Another thought: perhaps it would be more interesting to compare the ccMixter findings against other similar communities. I mean,your summary findings seem fairly accurate about the community here (from my view, at least). But they aren’t surprising in any way, as I’d guess that any community would share those characteristics/ dimensions in your study. The differences may really in the degree of those dimensions. So that’s why I thought a comparison against other communities may lend more insights.

Just my unqualified opinion, of course. I’m not suggesting that I know better about your research :) Look forward to reading more of your findings. I think your study is yet another way for us to “know more about ourselves”. Cheers!
permalink   Abstract Audio Tue, Dec 7, 2010 @ 1:41 PM
Would be interested in that also!

Do have to say I feel like a youngsters being among this old crowd ;P
permalink   laurawr Tue, Dec 7, 2010 @ 10:57 PM
Thanks Ivan. I agree that comparative studies across a few communities will be definitely interesting, sharing commonalities but also distinct in some ways.

Because of the sample size (less than 40), the demographic information cannot represent general users of ccMixter, such as age, and gender distribution. :)

Thanks for your comments, Ivan and Abstract Audio.