As reported (here among many other places) . Which would not really pique our interests, except that the survey also mentions Craigslist. So this morning we decided to dive right in and see what all the hubbub was about.
The gist is that Harris interactive just released a poll which showed that people who identify themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual ("GLB") use Social Networking sites (Myspace, Facebook, etc.) more than individuals who do not identify themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual. Generally, we like our statistics easy and nice, especially before breakfast, but sometimes you don't get what you want (in this case, breakfast). We were quickly mesmerized by numbers which stated that 13% of Straights, but over 20% of GLBs visit Craigslist and spend less than one hour there. These two numbers are pretty far apart and would indicate that there is something very interesting going on with those self-identified GLB's. (For example, if GLB's had average higher incomes or average higher educational attainment then the results would make sense as individuals with those characteristics tend to use the Internet more.) 1 Percent of GLB's report using Craigslist more than 10 hours per week, which would beat even us.
What we found most vexing was that while the Straights and GLBs had rates of 13% and 20%, respectively, the overall polled average was 14%, remarkably close to the 13% for the Straights. This means that the huge variation between these two groups is not being shown by the overall sample. We then took a closer look at their sampled population and found that their sample of 2,541 adults only had 267 self-identified GLBs. While this over samples the population of GLB's (10% of their sample is GLB while the overall population of GLBs in the United States is smaller than that) the fact remains that 267 is a small sample when trying to determine what percentage of GLBs use Craigslist for different amounts of time.
In particular, that group of "20% of GLB's who spend less than one hour on Craigslist" actually represents only 53 responses. That 1 percent of GLB's who use Craigslist for more than 10 hours a week? Stated more efficiently, their survey had 3 respondents who reported they were GLB and also claimed to use Craigslist for more than 10 hours a week.
Harris Interactive's poll results do not seem as strong as they once were and could be, well, a little more arbitrary and a little less interesting as they first appeared. For the full text of the article see here, Table 3 deals with Craigslist and you can see for yourself how they tried divvy up their survey of 267 people. On an aside, the co-sponsor of the poll, Witeck-Combs Communications, identify themselves as the author of the book "Business Inside Out: Tapping Millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers." We only hope that when they tap the millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers that they use the results of more than 267 GLBs.
Image from http://www.gameshowstogo.com/Gays Use Social Networks Most, Survey Says