Fun with numbers: the first six states

I’ve completed the first pass for use of Facebook and Twitter by public libraries in six states–which was, originally, all I planned to do (as part of a book project that’s not primarily about numbers as such).

Those six states make up roughly one-fifth of U.S. population (they include a very large state, a large state, a medium-sized state, a medium-small state, a small state and a very small state in terms of population). They include a total of 802 public library agencies (libraries and library systems).

Based on just those states, I can offer two “contradictory” comments, both true:

  • Most libraries in the six states studied don’t use either social network: Roughly two-thirds don’t use either one.
  • Most people in the six states are served by libraries that do use at least one of the two social networks (although “most” in this case is around 54%).

Think about it. There’s no contradiction between the two numbers. And that’s all the numbers I’ll note at the moment.

I will say this: I’m doing more than 6 states. I’ll almost certainly do another ten (two large, two fairly large, two medium, two fairly small, two small) states…and I might even do another eight beyond that. (The set of ten states includes a total of just over 800 libraries/library agencies. The set of eight includes just over 640. We’ll see how it goes.)

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