Since January, 2003

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 (a random before-and-after moment)
August 21, 2003
April 8, 2012
5th at L, Looking West-Northwest (see more)

My decision to do my first-ever reader survey was really just a lightning quick notion while I was on vacation. I whipped up the questions without a lot of thought, tossed it on the site, and assumed it would be a somewhat interesting diversion, though I was nervous about the sort of feedback I'd get (or whether I'd get much at all, since goodness knows *I* hardly ever respond to these sorts of pleas for input).
So I'm happy that 428 readers took the time to click a few boxes and type a few words, giving me a bunch of great data to chew over. A few numbers surprised me, a few confirmed what I've always suspected, and others really helped to refocus me on how people use the site and what is and isn't important. Some bullet points:
* The response that I think might surprise others but which I've always assumed to be the case is that only 41 percent of JDLand readers currently live in Near Southeast. This means that there are two somewhat distinct readerships who have different levels of interest about various goings-on. This is why you'll see additional breakouts for some survey responses by Near Southeast Residents and Not Residents. And this is also why I don't always go as deep into the weeds on neighborhood news and events as some residents would probably like, because I know a lot of readers are looking for more of an overview.
* Not surprisingly, nonresidents are more interested than residents in before-and-after photos (69 percent to 49 percent), since nonresidents (like me!) don't see all the new stuff every day.
* Another shocker: Near Southeast residents are most interested in restaurant/retail news! (The question might be, who are the 2 percent of residents who aren't?)
* This is the one that stunned me: 82 percent of respondents said that the amount of blog posts is "Poifect." Only THREE people said there's too many posts? There were about 60 people who said that there are too few posts, or that information is being missed, with residents feeling that way more than non-residents. While some people recognized that this is more a statement on the lack of actual news instead of my coverage being underwhelming, one critique raised a few times in the "Other" field was the overloaded "Tidbits" posts, which I had recognized as a problem even before starting the survey. You're already seeing a larger number of smaller posts rather than fewer bulleted ones....
* My employer will be happy to know that 87 percent of readers say they get local news from the Washington Post. DCist was the second-highest choice (46 percent), with City Paper third at 35 percent. (This question probably would have benefitted from more options, and people added quite a few in the Other field. Oh well. Next time.)
* Twitter is used by only about 25 percent of respondents to get either my content or local news. This is an important data point for me, because if you spend as much time deep in the Twitterverse as I do, it's easy to overinflate its importance in the overall news delivery and consumption scheme. (I'd also suggest reading this AdWeek piece from a few weeks back on how Politico's bloggers are trying to adapt in a Twitter world, where being first and fast is a whole heck of a lot harder than it used to be. It's an article that really resonated with me.)
What stands out to you in the numbers?
There's a few parts of the survey I'd change if I had it to do over again (some demographic info, like gender and age, would have been good to know). And doing it after baseball season is over probably skews the results away from the Nationals fans who tend to come by to check out what's going on near the stadium. And of course I'm well aware that this isn't at all scientific, and that it's the most engaged readers who tend to make the effort to reply. Plus, the number of responses is a teensy percentage of what Google reports as my average monthly unique visitors, so a lot of visitors are no doubt unrepresented in these numbers. (And the people who think I'm excessively wordy or post too often or don't do a good job have probably already moved along.)
But, all of that said, I'm so glad I did this, because one thing I never ever expected was the huge number of positive comments (and almost complete lack of negative ones) in the optional feedback field. (I'm not going to post them publicly, because I can only imagine the grief I'd get for such a display of look-how-wonderful-people-think-I-am.) A lot of what I do can feel like "whistling into the wind," because you're never really sure how much people are reading and enjoying the site (page view statistics are nice, but don't tell the whole story), so to get message after message of encouragement was a wonderful surprise.
It's no secret that I go through phases of wondering whether I should really keep at it, and during my week in Florida I was seriously teetering on the edge of "it's time," with a lot of self-doubt about whether a "neighborhood blog" in the area of Facebook and Twitter is something people are still looking for. Most unexpectedly, this survey really ended up reinforcing for me that basically I've still got the right idea after all this time.
In other words, a big thanks to all who replied. You had a lot more impact on JDLand than you might have anticipated.
Comments (3)
 
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Alex B. says: (10/27/11 4:26 PM)
Good call on Twitter. The Twitterverse is fast and exciting, but it's also skewed, insular, highly unrepresentative, and misses the vast majority of people who stick to regular internet chatter - to say nothing of those who only casually browse in the first place.

That AdWeek article is interesting. If all you have is speed, I can see why somebody like Politico would be worried. But that just exacerbates the issues that 24-hour cable news created - everyone's going so fast that no one stops to actually think. What I appreciate about this site is the depth and stability.


JD says: (10/27/11 5:04 PM)
In the ballpark-construction era, speed was a big part of my profile. It was something I could do well, beating the big media outlets to news and updates, giving people a reason to check my site first and to also up my profile as someone "plugged in." And there weren't that many "other" outlets doing local coverage. But now there's just so many people out there watching local news and events that being truly "first" on most stuff is pretty tough.

My example is always the night in 2006 the council voted first to not agree to the ballpark deal with MLB, then came back and revoted for it. It was pretty much me and David Nakamura at the Post giving online updates by updating blog posts. Can you imagine the Twitterverse chatter on that event today? All the DC local reporters and associated politics geeks all in the room or watching Channel 13 or the online feed, along with all the Nats fans wanting to know about their ballpark, etc. etc.

This is not a bad thing, I'm not lamenting it, it's just very different from the era when I really hit my stride. And as I said above, if you're in that insular (read: junior high redux) world, you really can forget that it's not where most people are getting their news. So it's taken me a long time to really get that Must. Be. First. notion out of my mindset. (Though I still try. :) )

I actually think that now the focus for the media ought to be on being *right*, not first--being the people who separate fact from fiction at the end of the day, when people have had a blizzard of conflicting info thrown at them during big events. "Tell me what actually happened here today."


MJM says: (10/28/11 10:05 AM)
But rumors are so much more juicer! :) Like the stock market, buy the rumor sell the news/facts!!

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M ST SE AND HALF ST SE   ROBBERY /  08/17/14
800 B/O VIRGINIA AVE SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/17/14
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HALF ST SE AND L ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/11/14
1000 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT /  08/07/14
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70 B/O I ST SE   THEFT /  08/02/14
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/01/14
200 B/O L ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/30/14
L ST SE AND 2ND ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/30/14
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Active Public Space Permits Archive  
1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; excavation  
 02/10/14
to
02/09/15
908 3RD ST SE    Rachel Frankel 
Issued
streetfixture; new  
 07/24/14
to
09/21/14
1026 3RD ST SE    Wash Gas & Light Co. 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/26/14
to
09/04/14
1331 4TH ST SE    Forest City Forest City 
Issued
excavation; new  
 01/10/14
to
02/10/15
410 M ST SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
excavation; new  
 07/11/14
to
09/08/14
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    WASHINGTON GAS 
Issued
excavation; new  
 07/28/14
to
09/26/14
301 TINGEY ST SE    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
Issued
new  
 03/21/12
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11/27/14

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE   
08/11/14 
TOLL DC LP / ALBERT J. PEARCE
FB1400108 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1259 1ST ST SE   
08/11/14 
CAPITAL RIVERFRONT HOTEL LLC / CAPITAL RIVERFR HOTEL LLC
AH1400636 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTER HOURS FOR PERMIT NUMBER B1401471 FOR 8 / 12 THROUGH 9 / 11 FROM 5AM TO 7PM MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
1201 4TH ST SE   
08/12/14 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LIC / JIM CALABRESE
AN1400129 / CONSTRUCTION
PLEASE EXTEND PERMIT AN1300174 THIS IS THE FIRST EXTENSION AND PERMIT WILL BE VALID UNTIL 1 / 31 / 2015.
1212 4TH ST SE   
08/25/14 
FC 1212 LLC / MARK E. RESNICK
E1408462 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1331 4TH ST SE   
08/14/14 
F. C. 1331 LLC / FVI 2020
B1402843 / CONSTRUCTION
CONSTRUCTION OF A BRAND NEW 11 STORY BUILDING. THE BUILDING IN TOTAL IS 350 000 SQ FT. ADDING 327 RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNITS 20 000 SQ FT. IN COMMERCIAL SPACE AND 3 BELOW GRADE PARKING LEVELS.
   
08/15/14 
CLARK CONCRETE
AH1400650 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTER HOURS TO POUR CONCRETE ON JOBSITE FROM 7AM TO 7PM FROM SUNDAY TO SATURDAY 8 / 15 / 2014 TO 11 / 15 / 2014
1000 5TH ST SE   
08/13/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA /
FD1400132 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW FOUNDATION TO GRADE PERMIT FOR NEW COMMUNITY CENTER INCLUDING UTILITIES. REVISION TO FD1400029 TO REVISE STRUCTURAL DETAILS OF COLUMS.
   
08/20/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / BRUCE G. PICKETT
E1408304 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1220 12TH ST SE   
08/27/14 
FAIRBANKS MORSE ENGINE / EVAN O'BRIEN/ D MCKEEVER SERVICES
B1411219 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR ONLY NON-STRUCTURAL ALTERATION TO EXISTING OFFICE SPACE. WORK INCLUDS MINOR PARTITION CHANGES AND THE ASSOCIATED HVAC AND ELECTRICAL ALTERATIONS.
1015 HALF ST SE   
08/12/14 
HALF ST SE LLC / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
TL1400162 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR TENANT LAYOUT OF 1ST FLOOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO SPACE AND OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS FURNITURE MECHANICAL ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY. CBS
   
08/15/14 
HALF ST SE LLC / ROBERT L HUNTER
M1402951 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/16/14 
SAM HOLLEN / DONALD VEALS; SAM HOLLEN; DONALD VEALS
E83010192 / SUPPLEMENTAL
200 I ST SE   
08/08/14 
DANIEL RILEY / OMAR BIAGAS; DANIEL RILEY; JOHN BIAGAS
E47247428 / SUPPLEMENTAL
41 L ST SE   
08/20/14 
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY (WMATA) / SAMIR ALQUTRI - GEOTECHNICAL SOLUTIONS INC.
SB1400402 / CONSTRUCTION
GSI PLANS TO DRILL 4 SOIL TEST BORINGS TO CONFIRM SOIL STRENGTH WITH A HOLLOW-STEM AUGER EQUIPPED WITH A SPLIT SPOON SAMPLER FOR THE SPT N-VALUE TESTS DOWN TO A MAXIMUM DEPTH OF 80 FEET BELOW EXISTING GRADES. ALL BORINGS WILL BE DRILLED TO THE MAXIMUM DEPTH OR AUGER REFUSAL WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. THE BORE HOLES DIMENSION WILL BE 3.25 INCHES AND SHALL BE GROUTED UPON COMPLETION.
20 M ST SE   
08/22/14 
TRANSWESTERN JEFFERY W GROSS / ANDREW ARNTSON; TRANSWESTERN JEFFERY W GROSS; ANDREW ARNTSON
P96600069 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/22/14 
TRANSWESTERN JEFFERY W GROSS / ANDREW ARNTSON; TRANSWESTERN JEFFERY W GROSS; ANDREW ARNTSON
G22130990 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/25/14 
SUBWAY / N/A; DAMON ELLIS
SG1400416 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALLATION OF NON ELECTRIC SIGN 10FT 8IN LENGTH 2IN WIDE 25IN HEIGHT
   
08/27/14 
JOHN GLUSEPPE-RAMCO / CARL LAVENDT; JOHN GLUSEPPE-RAMCO; CARL LAVENDT
E10905761 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
08/16/14 
NORTHWOOD INVESTERS LLC / STANLEY HUBBARD; NORTHWOOD INVESTERS LLC; STANLEY HUBBARD
E14516088 / SUPPLEMENTAL
901 M ST SE   
08/14/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400642 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1201 M ST SE   
08/14/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400641 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
08/21/14 
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION / ROBERT COLISH
P1407975 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
08/12/14 
NJA ASSOCIATES LLC / COLIN CLARK
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CONSTRUCT A NEW 13 STORY APARTMENT BUILDING WITH THREE BELOW GRADE PARKING LEVELS FIRST FLOOR RETAIL A PRIVATE SWIMMING POOL PROJECTIONS OF BAY WINDOWS 324 UNITS TO INCLUDE MECHANICAL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL AND ELEVATOR WORK.
1200 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
08/26/14 
MR BALLPARK 4 LLC. / MR BALLPARK 4 LLC.; RPS INC.
SB1400375 / CONSTRUCTION
ENVIRONMENTAL SOIL BORINGS FOR DUE DILIGENCE INVESTIGATION. ADVANCE A SERIES OF 10 ENVIRONMENTAL SOIL BORINGS AT THE SUBJECT SITE TO COLLECT SOIL AND GROUNDWATER SAMPLES FOR FIELD SCREENING AND LABORATORY ANALYSIS. THE SOIL BORINGS ARE BEING CONDUCTED AS PART OF A DUE DILIGENCE INVESTIGATION ASSOCIATED WITH A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION. INVESTIGATION DERIVED WASTE -IDW- WILL BE LABORATORY TESTED AND ...
1230 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
08/21/14 
PUBLIC STORAGE INSTITUTE FUND / RAYMOND SCIANNELLA
E1408379 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/21/14 
PUBLIC STORAGE INSTITUTE FUND / CHRIS WING
B1410888 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR ALTERATION TO EXISTING SELF STORAGE BUILDING TO REPLACE FIRE ALARM SYSTEM.
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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