Guest post: Chris Matyszczyk finds it odd that nearly a third of single Americans feel that the Internet is “sufficient companionship” and about the same percentage of young Americans would sell their name for a piffling $100,000.
Research shows that there are basically only two types of people. Those who believe research findings and those who don’t.
I struggle on in the latter category, even though I know that the predominance of left-brainedness on this site makes my stance more precarious than Larry Craig’s.
I have this week found my position extremely strained by the depths of research plumbed by Zogby International. Zogby first came to my attention when they announced in 2004 that John Kerry had won the election. I am not sure if it was they or their respondents who had confused him with Al Gore (somehow, I can’t see Al windsurfing, though at least it doesn’t worsen your carbon footprint), but this information, based on exit polls, enjoyed a pungent demise.
This week I learned that Zogby had come up with three very interesting conclusions from their constant fingering of the American pulse.
Firstly, 47% of people think Ron Paul is the worst Republican candidate on offer. Secondly, 50% of Americans would never vote for Hillary Clinton. And thirdly, 31% of single Americans would rather have sex with their laptop than with another human being. (I am presuming Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul were included in their immediate thoughts while answering.)
I am extrapolating only slightly. The survey declared that those 31% of single people (I have a suspicion there were more men than women in this part of the sample) believe the Internet to be “sufficient companionship.”
Now of course, your sufficiencies might be different from mine, but Zogby claim they plunged into the minds of 9,800 Americans to reach this conclusion.
They plunged by email. Which leads me to the most important philosophical questions:
Are human beings likely to be even bigger liars online than they are face-to-face? And might this be why so many of the respondents claimed they preferred the touchy-feely of the laptop versus, say, the companionship of another human being?
I ask because some time ago I overheard the marketing director of a well-known dating site claiming that he believed that at least 30% of the men searching for love, lust and all points between on his site were actually married. And I found myself wondering whether 30% of the lasciviously-minded men in the bar we were sitting in at the time were also suffering from nuptial bliss.
Wouldn’t Zoltan and his Flying Zogbys serve us rather better if they could perform half of each survey online and the other half face-to-face? Surely that would give us a far more balanced picture of the true mendaciousness of the human inadequate? And of his relative mendaciousness live and online.
Please consider some of the other supposedly sober answers of this ZogMySpace Project.
The survey revealed that 17% of the men, and 7% of the women, would happily allow themselves to have their brains implanted with Web access. I suspect that most of them wouldn’t go near a tattoo artist, never mind a lobotomic surgeon.
As a group, they declared Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson and Patrick Dempsey far sexier than the iPod. While 6% declared their little Apple music box to be just as sexy as Derek Jeter.
And my blender is just slightly sexier than Maria Bartiromo.
Here is the final discovery, the ZogBonus, the response from which you must judge whether this piece of online honesty signals the end of humanity or merely the funeral for entertainment.
Among the 18-24-year-olds, 34% would happily sell their names for $100,000.
Not ten million, not even a million, but a piffling hundred grand.
A large number of young Americans have declared online that they don’t think their name is even worth a Ferrari. Or a garage in Manhattan. Or twenty hemorrhoid surgeries. Or a few hours with OJ’s lawyers. Or a minute of the Iraq War.
They’re lying, right?
Or are they?
Please email me and let me know.
Chris Matyszczyk has spent most of his career as an award-winning creative director in the advertising industry. He advises major global companies on marketing and creativity. Chris has also been a journalist, covering the Olympics, SuperBowl and other sporting events. He brings a non-techie's perspective to the tech world and a sharp wit to the rest of the world. Check out his "Pond Culture" blog.