Can we say something about who (Di)DIYers are?

  • Posted on: 22 February 2016
  • By: lmari


Digital DIY – what in our Project we call DiDIY – is clearly a phenomenon in which individuals play a pivotal role: but who are them? what can we say about their objective (age, gender, occupation, country, etc) and subjective (motivations, skills, etc) features?

DiDIY is so new and dynamic that reliable and stable answers can be hardly given, but something may be inferred by observing the many persons registered in (Di)DIY-related online communities, as those which we mentioned in the previous post “Hacking (Di)DIY online communities”. In particular, some preliminary, but already quite interesting, analysis has been done on Instructables, that exists since March 2005 and that counts today about 200,000 users and 130,000 projects.

While projects in Instructables are freely accessible also to anonymous users, for uploading new projects or contributing to existing projects, and then in particular to send comments, a person must create her/his own account. In this process (s)he can optionally write her/his age, an information that can be updated afterwards. More than 50,000 persons specified their age, a number that is big enough to be considered statistically significant and to make the distributions by age not significantly biased by the unavoidable fake data. The overall distribution is:

showing that most registered users are relatively young (about 50% of them are below 30) but also that (Di)DIY is not a thing for youngsters only.

Splitting the distribution by gender:

we discover that there is a strong prevalence of males in (Di)DIY and that the distributions of males and females have approximately the same shape but for the scale factor.

Only a fraction of the registered users uploaded at least one project in Instructables (TRUE distribution in the chart below), and in this sense they can be considered producers, instead of being only users of available projects: in the average, producers are younger than users.

The actual informativeness of this data is still to be investigated (for example: are Instructables registered users really representative of the broader set of (Di)DIYers?), but the analysis seems to be promising...