Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lies, Damn Lies, and ... What Was That Third One Again?

I participate in Zogby online polls.  I enjoy this.  (Every once in a while, I complain because they've phrased a question wrong or something, but, generally, it's fun taking part in the whole venture.)

The other day, they sent us some results ... a little powerpoint presentation on "Who We Are," or, at least, who the eleven thousand people they surveyed are.

I treat the results with a certain degree of skepticism.  For example, the survey asked whether you agree with the statement, "I communicate every day with people I only know online."  Based on the results, and the political affiliations of those who responded "yes," Zogby concluded that "Liberals [are] most likely to say they communicate every day with people they only know online."

Really, Mr. Zogby?

Because I'd speculate that:
(1)  younger people are more likely to communicate every day with people they only know online.
(2)  younger people are more likely to skew liberal.

So, I mean, I don't think that your political affiliation has anything to do with your online communication -- I think your age has to do with both.  We've got two effects from the same cause here, not a cause and effect relationship.

A lot of the rest of the Zogby results I have no quarrel with -- largely because they are exactly what you'd expect.  ("Respondents without college degrees are more anxious about the future"; "Democrats, liberals most likely to believe environmental problems among greatest danger[s] facing world today"; and, the real shocker, "Republicans prefer to get their news from Fox channels while Democrats prefer NBC."  Really?  You needed to conduct a survey for that one?)  Then again, I have no explanation for "Conservatives prefer shopping at Wal-Mart, while liberals prefer Target."

But what really surprised me about the survey was its ultimate generational breakdown.  You've got your Privates (1926-1945), your Woodstockers (1946-1964), your Nikes (1965-1978) and your First Globals (1979-1990).  (It amuses me no end that the Zogby people put a little "TM" next to "First Globals," as though they want to claim credit for the term, but don't think that the Nike people might have a little trouble with the use of their corporate name.  But I digress)

OK then.  I fall into the "Nike" group.  According to this, the profile of the group is:
- No "Good Old Days"
- Loyalty Issues with Traditional Values, Government and Politics, and Church
- Detachment and Libertarian
- Starting Over.

Now, unless "Issues" is used in the negative sense (e.g., "I have serious issues with traditional values"), this does not describe me.  Like, at all.  (Even if it is Loyalty Issues in that sense, I'm not particularly libertarian.  Nor starting over.)

I'm kinda close in age to the Woodstockers, though.  Heck, my sister falls into that group, and we're the same generation, right?  So, let's see if I just affiliate with a slightly older demographic.  The Woodstocker profile is:
- Self-Indulgent
- Perpetual Youth
- Need for 2nd Act

I'm not quite sure what that last one means, but I don't think I need a second act.  I mean, I don't want the curtain to drop after the first act, but I'm not out there actively looking for a second.  (And I like to think I'm not all that self-indulgent.  I think.  Maybe?)

Which leads me to the First Globals.
- World Travelers
- Diverse and Multi-Cultural
- Citizens of Planet Earth
- Mobile.

Shit.  I think that's me.  It's a solid ten years younger than me, but it's closer to describing me than my own damn generation.

Well, at least I feel better about hanging out with that group of way younger friends.

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