Fun With Time Zones

Are people that live in the Mountain Time Zone region less cultured than the rest of the country? According to the traffic stats from my blog and other culture blogs, they rarely comprise more than 5 percent of my daily traffic…


Chart 1 illustrates the typical break down of traffic to my site based on time zones. As you can see, Eastern Time and Central Time share equal percentages and Pacific Time usually hovers around 15-20 percent. Even European time zones visit this blog more often than people from Mountain Time. But why?

Of course, the population in Mountain Time is smaller than the rest of the country but this site doesn’t generate traffic in the tens of millions so I don’t think population difference should have that much impact. But then there’s the fact that Mountain Time Zone areas have less orchestras than the other three time zones. I think that might have more to do with the disproportionate statistics.

The only times I’ve noticed mountain Time to rise higher than 5 percent is when articles are published which deal directly with something in that time zone (such past articles about the NMSO or Bennett, Colorado).

However, it does appear that the Mountain Time Zone residents tend to care about culture in general far les than other times zones (perhaps that’s why Bennett, Colorado experienced their problems).

Another very popular blogger here at Arts Journal with four times the traffic that this blog produces has so few Mountain Time Zone visitors that it doesn’t even register on their stats. Chart 2 illustrates that not only is Mountain Time at zero percent, but time zones in Europe and Asia generate more traffic.

I’m not certain what all of this proves assuming it has anything to prove at all. But the umbers are they, and they don’t lie. Apparently, people living in Mountain Time don’t have as much interest in cultural topics as their counterparts in the rest of the country.

Postscript: I do have to add that even though I don’t receive as much email from residents in Mountain Time Zone areas, their letters are just as engaging and passionate as those from anywhere else.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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12 thoughts on “Fun With Time Zones”

  1. Drew – having lived out there for a few years recently, I’m guessing they aren’t inside on the computer; they’re out enjoying the incredible weather on a mountain bike or on the face of a mountain.

  2. Sam: All things being equal I might agree with you but with he southern areas rapidly growing in population compared to areas like Denver and places north, heat surely has to keep people inside from time to time. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed that even in the summer, the percentage usage between zones is roughly unchanged.

    Then there’s the issue of the amount of time it takes to participate in online cultural discourse. A large number of individuals that visit this blog (and others I suspect) do so from work during breaks or at lunch (or at least I hope so). Nevertheless, MT participation still lags.

    Rex: On rare occasions, I actually have witnessed visits from that time zone exceed those from MT. I know of orchestra managers in Iceland that sends around an Adaptistration link from time to time and when that happens, percentage share for that time zone bumps up to 7%.

  3. With the symphony attendance so paltry in both Phoenix and Colorado, it’s no wonder. How sad that the excuse mentioned above might be the fine weather and all the fun things to to outside. Is that the case in San Diego?

  4. Drew,

    Setting aside the timezone question, you write about the time required for online cultural discourse. The point: It is taking place and has been taking place. It just may not (or may be) taking place here.

    Here is a link to Google’s archive of rec.music.classical.recordings
    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.classical.recordings/about
    with monthly posting statistics.

    Same for rec.music.opera
    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.opera/about

    The Moderated Classical Music List archive:
    http://home.ease.lsoft.com/archives/classical.html

    The Richter Yahoo Group:
    http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/sviatoslavrichter/

    And there are more examples. I think you’re drawing some odd conclusions just based on your web stats.

    Ravi Narasimhan
    Redondo Beach, CA

  5. I was disappointed by the findings (I’m a MTer), and can only offer this: There is huge population growth here in CO. We do have the skiing, hiking, and the sports franchises. The old argument has been that if one wants culture, move to the east or west coast. If one wants outdoors and sports, it makes more sense to move to a place like CO. The fair weather argument still has teeth, and it has been and remains a challenge for a group like the Colorado Symphony to make the people here realize what an important contribution music can make to their lives. On the bright side, our attendance numbers are up, so signs are good that we are being recognized as an important institution offering rewarding (and different!) experiences, and that we can compete to some degree with the Rockies, Broncos, Avalanche, Rapids, Crush, Mammoth, Buffs, etc. Hopefully the momentum we’ve developed in our attendance and visibility will spur on further interest in the field, and will begin to reflect in polls such as this in the near future.

  6. “Of course, the population in Mountain Time is smaller than the rest of the country but this site doesn’t generate traffic in the tens of millions so I don’t think population difference should have that much impact.”

    You’re not thinking correctly regarding the statistics of this: the proportion of potential visitors from various regions would not be equalized by the relatively small number of visitors your blog gets. If anything, given a low level of traffic means that any anomalies between regions are likely to be exaggerated.

    Too, as someone previously noted, I think there’s a disproportionately small number of orchestras in MT. Certainly in relation to the area of the region and likely in relation to the population – as you note there’s been a lot of population movement into the area, but starting a symphony orchestra is not the first thing that happens in a city that doubles or triples in population within a ten year period. So it’s quite possible that fewer people in MT would have some reason to be interested in your topic.

  7. Having grown up in southern Arizona, that during the summer, Arizonans are not “out enjoying the incredible weather on a mountain bike or on the face of a mountain.” Most are holed up in dark air-conditioned places!

  8. Ravi: thank you for the Google links, however, it’s not simply my stats which are thrown into the equation, if you have the ability to follow time zone statistics from any of the regular cultural bloggers, and you’ll notice a very similar pattern; that is why the other AJ blogger stats are included above in chart #2. As such, I think here’s something there worth looking at and managers in those areas should take this trend into account hen figuring out how to market themselves to their respective community.

    Herb: thank you for your note, as a matter of fact; the point about MTZ having fewer orchestras than the other time zones is actually in the article. At the same time, I have to take issue with your point that the overall population figures being equalized by the same issue. The overall number of orchestras in the MTZ isn’t so much less than the other times zones to account for such a disproportionate amount of traffic. As such, there has to be something else there.

    Richard: I’ve been to phoenix in the summer and yes, it is incredibly hot! I limited outside exposure to the evenings and no more than a half hour in the day.

  9. In regard to Arizona, during the summer they aren’t in the Mountain Time Zone either. Because they don’t do the whole Daylight Savings thing, they are synchronized with Pacific Time.

    This caused no end of problems when I was working at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Arizona border was only about an hour or so drive away and we constantly had people showing up late because they didn’t realize they really lived 2 hours away.

    So that might be the problem too Drew–a whole state removed from a time zone for your survey.

  10. That’s a good point Joe, I’ve never tracked the average difference between Pacific Time percentages when Phoenix is and is not in MTZ. Regardless, given the small percentage MTZ compiles, I doubt it make much impact. It would also be interesting to know if the traffic meters track those changes for Phoenix – and for places in Indiana with a similar situation.

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