Posts Tagged ‘public opinion’

Don’t Get the Point of Twitter? Good – I Don’t Want you to

March 31, 2011 6 comments

Keep the Bewildered Herd off Twitter

PR legend Walter Lippmann once wrote in his seminal book Public Opinion:

“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”

The people who don’t understand Twitter (or social media in general) are members of the bewildered herd, and I hope they stay off Twitter.

If you don’t understand the value of ubiquitous access to a hive mind that can put you in contact with experts, celebrities, public officials, news agencies, and your best friends – I implore you to stay off Twitter.  Here’s why:

  • While you’re holding on the phone for customer service, listing to a muzak rendition of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and trying not to put a gun in your mouth, I’m getting a real-time response from the same company’s social media response team.
  • While you’re banging your head against your keyboard trying to come up with a list of recommendations for products or services for a project you’re working on, I’m pulling in great options from a panel of experts through a hashtag-enabled chat.
  • While you’re staring blankly at a Youtube video wondering what it means, I’m swimming in a sea of memes that enrich my grasp of the culture around me.
  • While you’re searching the classified ads for jobs, I’m networking with professionals across the country (and around the world) that I can tap into for assistance (all of whom have a chance to measure my contributions online through their interactions with me).

If the bewildered herd migrates to Twitter, it’ll be dumbed down and us early adopters will have to find another secret enclave to retreat to so that we can stay 140 characters ahead of you.

So thank you for being ignorant, and please – carry on.

Beating a Dead Horse: Public Opinion on Net Neutrality

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Beating a Dead Horse Courtesy eBaums World

Much was made of the recent Rasmussen Reports poll that produced the statistic “53% Oppose FCC Regulation of the Internet.”

The Rasmussen poll is unadulterated bullshit.  Here’s why:

Public Ignorance: The public is overwhelmingly ignorant of what Net Neutrality is.  Case in point – of the people polled by Rasmussen, only 20 percent responded that they were “closely following” the news on net neutrality.  This leaves the vast majority of respondents open to manipulation (which Rasmussen takes advantage of with misleading questions).

Framing of the Issue: The telecommunications corporations have been very skillful at controlling how the Net Neutrality debate is positioned.  The news media have adopted their false version of the narrative: that the Internet was going along fine and now the FCC wants to meddle with it.  As I wrote previously, the actual narrative is as follows:

  1. The Internet was set up with Net Neutrality as the unofficial standard for data being transmitted online.
  2. The Telecoms (seeking to increase profits) tried to eliminate Net Neutrality in 2006 with the Orwellian “Communications Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Bill of 2006” and a variety of other means (explained quite well by
  3. Advocates for Net Neutrality have, since 2006, been fighting to formally enshrine Net Neutrality as the official standard beginning with the Markey Amendment to the COPE Bill in 2006.

Flawed Survey Instrument: Here are the actual questions Rasmussen Research posed to respondents (courtesy of SClayton at DailyKos):

  1. “How closely have you followed stories about Internet neutrality issues?”
  2. “Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?”
  3. “What is the best way to protect those who use the Internet—more government regulation or more free market competition?”
  4. “If the Federal Communications Commission is given the authority to regulate the Internet, will they use that power in an unbiased manner or will they use it to promote a political agenda?”

This thing reads like it was hand-written on a scroll of human skin in the blood of a puppy by a soulless, goat-legged AT&T lobbyist.  Here are some of the many things that are false/misleading in the way the questions are posed:

  • The FCC already regulates the Internet like it does radio and television.  Asking that question (which the poll does twice) creates the impression that this is a new phenomenon.
  • “More government regulation” or “more free market competition” are not mutually-exclusive in this case.  Preserving Net Neutrality increases “free market competition.”  Leaving it unprotected or eliminating it (like the FCC stupidly did for wireless providers) means the Telcos can limit free market competition by charging fees for premium access that only the wealthiest can afford – leading to monopolization.
  • The wording is completely loaded.  People hear “government regulation” and automatically their eyes turn red and they start gnashing their teeth (thanks to decades of conditioning by right-wing think tanks).

I’d love to know who paid Rasmussen for the poll, but unfortunately Rasmussen is a private organization so they keep details like that secret.

“Wikileaks is …”: Public Opinion in the US on the Wikileaks Release

December 9, 2010 2 comments
Google "Wikileaks is..." Sentiment

Google "Wikileaks is..." Sentiment

Related to my previous post, one of the other fascinating things to observe about the Wikileaks release of cables from the US to other foreign governments is how the event seems to serve as a blank canvas upon which people can paint their own perspective.

I don’t watch much of the traditional newsmedia, but it seems as though the US public isn’t really of a single, cohesive mind on the case.  This would make sense given that audiences continue to fragment, and the news sources selected by most in the US cater to their particular flavor of opinion.

Check out what Google’s analytical tools show people searching for when referencing Wikileaks:

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It would be interesting to see what context/terms the people of OTHER nations are using to search for Wikileaks information – I’d enjoy seeing screen caps or other analytics data if anyone has it.