OK, we all recognize that part of the downside of online has been the vulgarization of research (and I mean that in the most negative way you can imagine). And no better example has come into my inbox of late than this little fantasy from ReadWriteWeb passing itself off as "a high quality dataset worth paying attention to."
The headline screams: "Business People Say Twitter More Important that LinkedIn." The source is a poll on LinkedIn asking the question, "What is the most important new platform for brands to master?" The available answers were Twitter, Facebook, the iPhone, Digg and LinkedIn. The poll garnered 3,615 respondents which we are assured is "a very good number." The biases by age, gender, company size, and job function are all dutifully reported on but exactly how those biases might relate to the results are left to the readers (of which one hopes there aren't many) to cipher on their own. Who this represents other than .0002% of LinkedIn visitors is anybody's guess.
I know it's a blog and we are all just out here ranting and raving to our little audiences of colleagues, friends, and bored family members but really, we ought to draw the line somewhere! I'm fine with unsubstantiated opinion; I do it all the time. But please don't try to pass it off as research.
We need to add this to Howard Beale's list.