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Its time to boycott Pew Internet

Its time to boycott Pew Internet

Duncan Riley> As posted earlier in the week, Pew Internet has release in latest study on the blogosphere that finds that the influence of blogs on the American political landscape was mostly circumstantial, and mostly confined to moderating discussions of news events rather than driving them, and that blogs are not replacing traditional media, based on the study of 40 blogs.

Now, I would have left it there had it not been for Pew’s Michael Cornfield commenting on the post that I’d gotten it wrong because I has suggested, based on the information provided, that the number may be less than 40. Sure, I’ll take his word that he actually looked at 40 blogs. What I won’t accept is that any sort of serious findings can be made by only looking at 40 blogs. As I commented after the post, how about I visit Hicksville, USA, and poll the views of 40 locals and then put out a statement to say that the finding reflects all Americans: the results would read: Yes Guns, No Gays, Nuke Iraq, burn the Koran and Women in the Kitchen. Would it be fair if I did this? No, and neither is the rubbish being peddled by Pew and used by others as a means to attack the blogosphere, for example in “Holes in the Blogosphere”Business 2.0 refers to the study as “a careful assessment”, sure, it was probably careful, because the sample was so ridiculously small.

So in defence of the blogosphere, here is what I propose. We boycott Pew Internet until they either stop putting out dodgy reports on the blogosphere, or until they start using decent sample sizes. Either way, Pew need to know that we won’t stand silently as they attack the blogosphere based on the results of 40 blogs.

View Comments (5)
  • Duncan,

    You write “So in defence of the blogosphere, here is what I propose. We boycott Pew Internet…” Just how do you envision this boycott? Not mentioning future Pew Reports? Deconstructing their methodolgy? Seems like an abstract concept trying to boycott a research organisation, however flimsy the basis for its conclusions are.

  • Maybe 40 blogs covers a wide enough cross-section of blogging. Ever taken a statistics course? A small random sample can often accurately represent the population as a whole.

    A study is a study. Read it and come to your own conclusions. No need to get all pissed off.

    There’s so much immaturity in these Blog Herald posts. There’s no need to fly off the handle every time some minor thing happens, like a study showing that blogs don’t control the world, or newspapers mildly undercounting the number of blogs (which, by the way, is an enormously difficult task anyway).

  • That is not the first time that pew is involved in information processes which smell scientific, which look scientific but are in fact only a question mark on the seriousness of this NGO.
    Who is behind PEW ?
    Let me know …thank’s

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