Monday, September 28, 2009

Consider the target audience!

I read this morning in a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll on CBS News that
It appears that our younger generation is not atwitter about Twitter. Less than 20% of 18-44 year olds think it's an important new tool, while about half the respondents from that age bracket think that it's a fad that will fade away.
Umm, I don't know who YOU have been hanging out with, but everyone I know who is my age is at least talking about Twitter, or encounters it on a daily basis when reading their news online or following their favorite blogger.

This information is from the same survey in which 48% of respondents claim that Wal-mart "best symbolizes America today" (and I don't think they mean this ironically). Also of note: of the individuals who took this survey, 10% had no idea what Twitter even was. While I agree that, like Friendster or Myspace, Twitter does have the potential to "fade away", isn't it a bit to soon to be making these assumptions? I urge all those who read this survey to heed the title of this post and consider the audience of Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes. Not exactly the twenty-something age bracket that encompasses most Twitter users, is it?

The thing that I think bothers me the most is that this is showing up as news on I Want Media, an aggregation site that focuses on articles and stories of interest surrounding media-related current issues and events. The fact that the only commentary on the poll on IWantMedia is in their personalized headline "Vanity Fair/CBS Poll Bashes Google, Twitter" irks me a bit. I suppose it is their obligation to report on all things media, whether or not those things be representative or skewed and ludicrous.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. But further investigation into the poll does not make CBS or Vanity Fair look any better. They make sweeping claims about the type of person who would disagree with their five options on battling obesity as if these are the only viable options, and that the individuals choosing the "None of the above" option were obviously "obese people on food stamps that love fast food". Nice attempt at humor, but I'm gasping instead of laughing. What if those who took the survey don't agree with the idea of tax credits for liposuction or installing scales in restaurants? Who really enjoys getting on that scale at the doctor's office, let alone in a fairly public area?

I understand that these polls are meant to be fun and that I'm probably just being a killjoy. I'm just concerned that more people than not will see this as the "search for our national character" it's claiming to be, which to me is just downright silly.


Keeley Teemsma said...

KJ, consider the survey instruments themselves, as well as the methodology. I'm sure they are not really valid/reliable.

Katharine Relth said...

Of course they aren't. But I'm afraid people will think they are.