30 August 2009

MX: gardening online community model

MX: gardening demographics/parameters



1. physical boundaries:

natural growth. growing vegetables, flowers, herbs, wheat, etc. large scale (farms) or small scale (backyard). Could be potted plants, in a bed in the earth, in a greenhouse, or on rooftops/porches/sunrooms.

Sunlight to some degree is necessary, and nutrients from soil (or fertilizer, compost, etc.) is also necessary. Different plants have different needs, and must have all in order to thrive.

KINDS OF GARDENS: roses, bonsai, for exchange and trading, backyard gardens, kitchen garden (fruits, veggies, herbs, canning), wildflowers/native plants, farming, flower garden (lawn decoration), butterfly garden, aquarium garden, balcony, bog garden, community garden, container garden, cottage, cutting, edible, enabling, heirloom hillside, historical, hummingbird, japanese, market, meadows and prairies, moon garden, moss, ferns, and cryptogams, orchards, organic, ponds, potager gardens, rock, shade, terrariums, topiary, tropicalesque, veggie, vertical gardens, water gardens, winter garden, woodlands, xeriscaping ans southwestern gardening, etc.


2. what's/who's involved:

people who enjoy gardening, children, parents, stay at home moms, elderly, retired, vegetarians, vegans, middle-aged, females, baby boomers, upper-middle class.

3. equipment needs:

shovels, soil, seeds, bulbs, water, gloves, shed, trowel, rake, pruner, axe, sprayer, aerator, shears, hose, sprinkler, fertilizer, compost, trimmer, gardening scissors, kneeling pad, weeder, garden hoe, pick-up tool, wheelbarrow, transplanter, cultivator, wire caging, fencing, labels, sunlight, earthworms, garden bed, scarecrow, saran wrap.

4. demographics:

baby boomers. Females accounted for 65% of respondents and males 35%. Those in their 40's comprised the largest demographic group. The majority were married with children; over 50% had at least a college degree; one-third had household incomes of $60,000 or greater; most were long-term residents of small towns or rural areas.

eight out of 10 households in the U.S. participate in gardening to some degree.

The average survey participant age was 50 years, with all participants between 18 to 84 years of age.

The greatest percent of survey participants were female (87.0%), lived in a household with at least one other adult (81.0%), but with no children (71.0%).

Slightly over half (53.8%) of the survey participants obtained at least an associate degree/was a technical school graduate.

Approximately half (51.9%) of the participants had a 2002 annual household income of <$75,000.

survey information from (http://www.joe.org/joe/2006april/rb7.php)

Today and through the next decade the boomer population fits perfectly into the key gardening demographic profile, i.e. aged 38 to 57 years old; more than 75% of households in this age range own their own home; and these are peak household income years with median incomes of $50,000 and above.


5. individual and community wants and needs:

tips on successful growing, how to easily care for a garden, which varieties of plants work well together, space needed, time to plant, learning the varieties of plants to grow, getting ideas on garden appearance, what to grow, etc. Where to buy gardening supplies, upcoming events, showing off their gardening skills and achievements, Q&A, finding nearby gardeners, uniting with other people passionate about gardening, names of plants, kinds of gardens, gardening and floral trends.

"Not only am I obsessed with gardening, I also love food, cooking it, eating it, and talking about it...." -'Tamara" from (voices.gardenweb.com/garden_voices/)

6. symbols (uniforms, tools, markers of the activity's community):

overalls, "green thumb", soil, sun hat, scarecrow, down-home kitsch, fresh veggies in diet, gardening gloves, farmer's tan, hay bales, owning and maintaining a garden, dirt under your fingernails, coarse hands.

7. motivations, etc.:

to grow fresh veggies, staying healthy, beauty of gardens, sustainability, avoiding pesticides etc in your meals, natural living, hobby, relaxation, free time, enjoyment, smell of flowers, envy of neighbors, gifts for neighbors and friends, canning, exercise, fresh flowers, nutrients, saves money, rewarding, enhancing their home (landscaping), making a statement, connecting with others, luxury, connect with nature.


Gardening has become the second most popular leisure activity in the country - second to walking - according to New York-based Scarborough Research. In fact, the National Gardening Association (NGA) reports that most American households (80 percent) tended to plants last year, up from 64 percent in 1996. (may 2002)

The purchase of indoor and outdoor plants represents a thriving market - one that is poised to grow even larger over the next decade.


But growth won't solely be driven by demographics, but by psychographics as well. Today's connecting baby boomer consumers brings totally new perspectives and approaches and desires for their garden. Notably, boomers are driving the demand for organic gardening solutions, as they are not willing to spread unknown chemicals all over their lawns. They also are exploring natural alternatives to the traditional lawn, which isn't natural at all. They are planting wildflower meadows, natural grasses and reviving lost prairie grasses in their lawns. Today, garden marketers need to focus on the needs, desires and passions of the emerging generation of gardening consumers. They will make a critical mistake if they assume that the boomer generation of 45-to-54 year olds is the same as the swing generation 45-to-54 year olds who just passed through this age group.

For marketers that get in tune with the new sensibilities and gardening desires of boomers, they will be rewarded with growing sales and market share. Boomer consumers will demand more stylish and decorative outdoor furniture and decorations. We also predict that boomers will renew a passion for vegetable and herb growing. This links right up to boomers' interest in gourmet cooking and the dining experience. They will start experimentally growing their own veggies and herbs first in pots, then they will move the kitchen garden out into the yard to expand their growing options.

Along with the boomers emphasis on food and dining, more boomers will be building outdoor kitchens so that they can maximize the experience of preparing gourmet meals on the patio. They will look for a more rugged style of dinnerware and tableware to serve from their outside kitchens. And they will need all kinds of new cooking tools and equipment as they expand their barbecuing and open-fire cooking options.


Consumer Interest in Gardening Topics and Preferred Information Sources

A survey was conducted to quantify what gardening topics consumers were interested in learning and what sources they used to learn about these topics. Approximately half of the participants (48.2%) responded that they were currently interested in a topic. Friend/neighbor/family members (53.4%), garden center staff (51.0%), and gardening books (48.2%) were the most popular sources for this information. University Web sites, Extension offices, and Master Gardener programs were among the least five sources used.


Missouri Master Gardener Demographics

A survey was conducted of Missouri Master Gardeners to identify their demographics and to determine if Master Gardeners fit general volunteer demographic patterns. Females accounted for 65% of respondents and males 35%. Those in their 40's comprised the largest demographic group. The majority were married with children; over 50% had at least a college degree; one-third had household incomes of $60,000 or greater; most were long-term residents of small towns or rural areas. Missouri Master Gardener demographics fit the pattern of volunteers in general, but demographic data proved to be a poor predictor of intent to continue volunteering.

well-educated: All were at least high school graduates and nearly 90% had some schooling beyond the secondary level. Over 50% had at least a college degree and 22% had post-graduate work beyond the baccalaureate level.

Missouri Master Gardeners were moderately wealthy. One-third had a household income of $60,000 or greater, and nearly another one-quarter had a household income between $40,000 and $60,000. Only 10.3% came from households with less than $20,000 income. In comparison, Rohs and Westerfield (1996) reported 12% of metropolitan Atlanta Master Gardeners with an income of less than $20,000, 36% between $20,000 and $50,000, and 52% with more than $50,000 income. Finch (1997) reported average income levels by zip code of residence in San Antonio. According to his findings, 10% lived in low income neighborhoods (under $15,000), 23% in moderate income neighborhoods ($15,000 to $24,000), 24% in middle income areas ($24,001 to $36,000), and 43% in upper income communities (over $36,000).


Demographics of Gardening

In keeping with your observations Eddy, the demographics of the garden buying person is also middle class, middle income white ladies. Somewhere between 35-65 yrs old. Not sure if that helps you - these are as varied a breed of folks interestwise as any other. They are generally very polite though! There is a better mix in some of the specialty area though. Herbs is definately 95% females, hostas and rosearians seem alittle more varied.


gardenweb.com: "The internet's garden and home community"


other gardening websites (our competition):

29 August 2009

MX: community model in an online form

In general, once you move a community to an online space, it encases the same ideologies as in real life, but the means communicating are a different process. In real life, membership boundaries can be set by things people wear, but online, you aren't able to see what these people are wearing so you have to find other ways to ways to set the boundary. (the group might be 'invitation only' or you can apply to a group).

1. Integration and fulfillment of needs– fulfillment of needs is enhanced by being online since there are more people able to interact. In real life, you don't get as big as numbers helping your cause, but online you're able to reach more people in more places because the internet allows for wider exposure. when one person comes into the community to meet goals and needs, those people have those same concerns, they can work together to achieve their goals. They are depending on each other for help to succeed. If one sees others are participating, they will want to participate as well. When many people with a similar issue come together to find a solution, the reward is now shared with the group.

2. Membership– in the online community, it's all a lot more open which is possibly why there aren't many boundaries. There isn't much personal privacy which then limits personal connection/relationship

• boundaries ( invitation only, blocking people, referrals, applications)

• emotional safety (own blog posts, how people respond, attitude towards participation, privacy controls, banning, sharing one's own ideas

• sense of belonging and identification ( if people show interest in what you're doing, identification/profile page, number of friends, invitation to certain events

• personal investment (this is what online is all about. If you don't participate, it's as if you don't exist–blogging, commenting, rating, posting images/ video, customizing main profile page etc.)

• common symbol system (the look of the website is a symbol system–its logo, colors, typefaces, topics)

3. Influence– based on what the website is used for, that's the groups influence on the individual. The more you participate in a positive way, the more participation you'll receive from others in the group. Influence is inherent–the fact they are on the same website means there are shared values, needs and purposes, so users already know what others want/need. Influence comes when people make the effort to participate and be known.

4. Shared emotion connection– things are constantly being updated and changed online, so there isn't much reflection of a community history. Instead of having an experience with someone in the community, you're just sharing experiences you've accomplished offline. There is no 'real' contact online, so the quality of interaction is hindered by a screen.

More to come later... community model and demographic research!

27 August 2009

MULTIMEDIA EXP: domain name/hosting

I already have a domain name at lauraberglund.com that I purchased in April, just so I could reserve that name for myself. I bought it at godaddy.com.

As for hosting, I plan on going with lunarpages.