Online Survey Finds That People Are Online A Lot

from the don't-trust-50-percent-of-statistics-you-see dept

Last week, there was a much discussed story about the online study that reported that Americans choose to spend time on the Internet rather than having sex. The WSJ Numbers Guy makes an astute observation, that "people who answer online surveys aren't likely to be representative of Americans when it comes to online behavior." When he dug a bit deeper, he found that the survey was conducted with a panel of 1,011 online respondents, who responded to the survey during the week that it was open. Furthermore, the people surveyed were drawn from a pool of people that actually signed up to be surveyed. Obviously the results are skewed to users that actively use the Internet. When questioned, Ann Mack, JWT's director of trend spotting replied "The fact that the survey was conducted online may skew the results a bit." This just serves as a reminder to take studies or statistics that are presented to you with a grain of salt. In this case, the company that did the study was looking to create a new advertising category for people whose lives are so tied up with new technology -- so it's not surprising that the results that it found supported this categorization.


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    common_sense, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 8:59pm

    typical

    haha... so typical of studies and surveys and polls. you can get whatever results you want by controlling and filtering the sampling base and then wording the questions to get a yes or no that fits your agenda.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 9:37pm

    Wait a min. I thought 72.348% of surveys (That number comes from a survey...) out there were to get exactly the response wanted. IMHO 100% of surveys are skewed. Who wants to go through the trouble of giving a survey and not get the desired results.

     

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    slimcat (profile), Sep 26th, 2007 @ 9:54pm

    Say what?

    So, um, online users who actively use the internet and sign up to take online surveys of online use aren't representative of online users? I guess the WSJ 'numbers guy' took more math than I did; I only made it through differential equations. WTF is this about again?

    Like other online users I read many news/blog sites, watch videos, listen to music (Pandora), keep up with technology news, participate in discussions on many sites and keep in touch with friends. So, yes, I spend a lot of time online. That would lead me to say that people spend a lot of time online because they can do many things in one place, in front of their computer, that they used to do sitting at the writing desk (remember those? I do), by the radio (we did this in the '40's) or in front of the TV. Course, I'm a little shy of 63 years old so I guess I'm not representative of online users. Oh, my head! I'm going back to /. .

     

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      PhysicsGuy, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 5:30am

      Re: Say what?

      then put your math book down, and go take a reading comprehension course. "people who answer online surveys aren't likely to be representative of *Americans* when it comes to online behavior." how exactly is a survey, in relation to internet usage, conducted with only people who use the internet representative of the whole group, which includes those who don't use the internet?

       

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        slimcat (profile), Sep 27th, 2007 @ 6:51am

        Re: Re: Say what?

        "people who answer online surveys aren't likely to be representative of *Americans* when it comes to online behavior."

        And the online behavior of people who don't use the internet is measured exactly how in an online survey?

        I'd mark you +5 Funny if I could.

        Oh, I put my math books down forty years ago. I think it's time you put down that Pickett slide rule.

         

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        slimcat (profile), Sep 27th, 2007 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re: Say what?

        "people who answer online surveys aren't likely to be representative of *Americans* when it comes to online behavior."

        And the online behavior of people who don't use the internet is measured exactly how in an online survey?

        I'd mod you +5 Funny if I could.

        Oh, I put my math books down forty years ago. I think it's time you put down that Pickett slide rule.

         

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        slimcat (profile), Sep 27th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re: Say what?

        "how exactly is a survey, in relation to internet usage, conducted with only people who use the internet representative of the whole group, which includes those who don't use the internet?"

        And what exactly would be the point of conducting a survey of online use of people who don't use the internet and how would you get them to reply? I'd mod you +5 Funny if I could. I'm sure you are referring, albeit obliquely, to the "people who use the Internet less (or not at all) have more sex" thing, but still.

        Oh, by the way, I put my math books down forty years ago. I think it's high time you put down that Pickett slide rule.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 10:28pm

    I never go online. Computers are evil and I refuse to use them!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 12:12am

    haha this has to be the worst survey i ever head of.


    thats like calling ppl to see if they have a phone.

    let m guess 100% of the ppl who did the survey go online?

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Sep 27th, 2007 @ 6:21am

    New survey

    A new survey came out that polled individuals after they made a purchase off of Amazon.com. Those who answered affirmed that they had made an online purchase in the last ten minutes. Therefore, Americans love to shop online. Asinine!

     

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    RandomThoughts, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 9:59am

    So would the survey be true for Techdirt readers?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 12:33pm

    negative fecal matter

    In other news, 99/100 people who die in car accidents fail to respond to survey requests (the remaining 1% where successfully contacted by mediums).

     

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    Jack, Sep 29th, 2007 @ 10:46pm

    Survey says...

    "This just serves as a reminder to take studies or statistics that are presented to you with a grain of salt."

    Perhaps "are meaningless" rather than "with a grain of salt"?

     

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