lion_lamb: A sneak peak into the composition of the Twilight fandom

November 29th, 1999 by Laura Leave a reply »

lion_lamb is one of the biggest Twilight specific LiveJournal communities. It has, as over November 15, 2009, about 16,600 members, 23,128 Journal Entries, 113 Tags, 1 Memory, 44 Virtual Gifts, and 9 Userpics. It is big and as influential as a number of other fansites in terms of sharing information.

I’ve always been interested in demographic surveys of fandom. There has been a fair amount of market research done that would be of interest to people involved with fan studies but a lot of that remains locked, controled by the people who produce it. There are people who produce great big data sets involving social media sites but a lot of that work is not easily minable by fan studies folks either, or the scope excludes them. Getting a picture is just hard.

So when one of the founders of YourWiki offered to help me get some demographic data off LiveJournal, I leaped at the chance. (And then nagged, harassed and busted his bandwidth limits. We’re special like that.) I wanted some data regarding lion_lamb because it is so huge and I figured it could give a nice snapshot of the Twilight fandom on LiveJournal. They obviously aren’t representative of the whole of the Twilight fandom. (No one has ever done a study that has linked the characteristics of LiveJournal fandom to the characteristics of broader fandom. It would interesting to do. If you’ve got some data scraping skills, have analytic data from your own site, run a convention, let me know and we can see if we can do that.) Still, the represent a fairly large group of fans who have influence on many other social networks including Facebook, Bebo, Quizilla, orkut, Twitter, Twilight Moms, etc. They are worth looking at.

First, we checked LiveJournal’s bot policies. Then we created a bot that went to the profile page of a LiveJournal community, grabbed the list of 11,000 or so people who both watched and are members of the community, and accessed the user page of every member of that community. The bot then collected data on location, birth year, birth date, year that the person created their LiveJournal, date that the person created their LiveJournal, year the person last updated their LiveJournal, date the person last updated their Livejournal, account type (Basic, Plus, Paid, Permanent, Sponsored, Early adopter), total number of journal entries, total tags, memories, virtual gifts, user pics and friends. This information was then dumped into a csv file. (More on methodology)

We now have a lot of data. It has a lot of holes in it because users do not need to complete all the fields. For the sake of this sample, we are going to assume that the non-blanks are representative of the whole set. People also lie about their ages and location. (People are not living in Antarctica or the Romulan Neutral Zone for instance. They are not likely to be born in 1900 or 2007.) Still, in terms of accuracy of the sample, I think it is better than survey research that may be done on community and it is less self selecting.

So what do we know about the watchers of lion_lamb?

lion_lamb watchers don’t pay for LiveJournal. In order to get extra features, the vast majority are willing to have extra ads displayed on their LiveJournals.

Things change a bit when you look at this based on nationality.

There are 3,378 people that list themselves as from the United States. Americans are a bit more willing (or able) to pay for their accounts and less willing to have as many ads.

There are around 300 Australians, 364 Canadians, 159 Brazilians, 197 Germans, 107 Mexicans, 23 New Zealanders, 28 Irish, 332 people from the United Kingdom, 116 French, 16 Japanese, 107 Italians.

Amongst those countries, Australians are the ones most likely to have permanent accounts with two percent of Australians having this account type. Permanent accounts go on sale around once a year for $150 to $250. Canada, Germany, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom all have one percent of total members with that account type.

Plus accounts are most popular in Brazil (87%), France (80%), Italy (85%), and Mexico (86%). Plus accounts are least popular in Germany (69%), and Japan (63%).

Paid accounts are most popular in Ireland (18%), Germany (16%) and the United Kingdom (14%). They are least popular in Brazil (4%), France (8%) and Mexico (5%).

Basic accounts are most popular in Japan at 25%. No other country in this sample is in the twenty percent range. Basic accounts are least popular in Brazil (9%), Ireland (4%), Italy (5%) and Mexico. (8%)

These patterns are interesting. Why are Japanese Twilight fans willing to do with less extra features with the reward of fewer ads? Why are Brazilians, Italians and Mexicans willing to have more ads? Why are the Irish, Germans and Brits most willing to pay for extras?

I’ve been curious about Twilight fandom on LiveJournal: How old are people in the fandom and did the fandom give LiveJournal a spike in new users? The fandom is characterized in many places as being filled with teenage girls. On LiveJournal, based on lion_lamb, that doesn’t appear that true. The average year of birth for people who listed theirs is July 1985. That’s about 24 years old, past high school and past college.

This average differs a bit my country. There are 1,193 people from the US, 135 from Canada, 48 from Brazil, 33 from Mexico, 139 from the United Kingdom, 86 from Germany, 122 from Australia, 50 from France, 9 from Ireland, 51 from Italy, 7 from Japan, and 7 from New Zealand.

The above chart doesn’t include the total people born by year before 1960 or after 1995 but people outside the range were included in the average. Brazilian, German, Japanese, Australian, and American members are the oldest at about 25 years old having been born in 1984. French and British fans are the youngest averaging the age of 22 and being born in 1987. The mode for the whole sample is 1989 and the median age is 1987. These are different than the average, implying that the community is a bit younger than the average implies.

Twilight may have given LiveJournal a registration bump in terms of this community, with the median and mode of 2008 for registering. The average registration year is 2007.07 in comparison. Members of this community are updating, with a last update year average of 2008.66, mode of 2009 and median of 2009.

lion_lamb members have posted an average of 132.25 times, a median of 11 times and a mode of 1 time. This indicates that several members are extremely prolific on their own journals. Two members have nine thousand plus times, one posted eight thousand plus times, two posted six thousand plus times. 320 people more than one thousand posts. This small group of prolific posts, representing two percentage of the total members, skew the average rather high. Most members are posting between one and eleven times.

For tags, the average number per person is 36.48, the mode is two, the median is four. For memories, the average is 37.77 per person, mode is zero and median is zero. Virtual gifts per user has an average of .23, median and mode of zero. The average number of userpics per user is 13.94, with a mode of one and median of fix. The average member of
lion_lamb has 34.08 friends, median of eleven friends and mode of one friend. Most of these you would only expect to have higher numbers if the community was full of active contributors who were utilizing all the features on LiveJournal.

lion_lamb has a number of users who are a bit older than the screaming teenage girl stereotype, though certain countries represented on this community are closer to that than others. Most users are not using plus accounts, choosing to view additional ads to get extras on the service. Members of the community are not very active on their own journals and many are relatively new to the site, having joined in the past twenty two months.

As a snapshot of the Twilight fandom on LiveJournal, it is an interesting one. It will be interesting to see if this sample mirrors other LiveJournal communities or as part of a larger sample of members of Twilight communities on LiveJournal.

Why didn’t I chose Twilight as an interest and then pull profiles based on that to get an idea about the shape of the Twilight fandom on LiveJournal? Because that’s largely a passive activity. First, Twilight doesn’t always mean series of books by Stephanie Meyer; it could mean that time when the sun sets. I also felt that joining a group was more active indicator of interest in the books and movies: You want to read what other people are saying so you join to do so.

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