Venture Beat covers a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Services on "The state of media." In it they come to some conclusions that I consider odd.
Now let's be clear on one fact before going forward: The people presenting this survey are claiming it represents the population at large. With that clarification in place I'm going to take the millennials section paragraph by paragraph to try to make my point.
Some of this comes as no surprise, as younger people tend to be early adopters. The millennials embrace gaming, music, the Internet, and user-generated content. They’re less likely to read newspapers, watch TV, read formal news sites, or visit traditional shopping and product review sites. Their preferred way of absorbing content is watching video on the web and handheld devices or listening to music on mobile phones and MP3 music players.
This is probably the least offensive of the paragraphs in that I can't definitively disprove these claims. But let's take the phrase "Their preferred way of absorbing content is watching video on the web" and examine it for a second. Just from a common sense perspective does anyone really believe this? Do you honestly believe a person given the choice between an HDTV with surround sound or streaming video will pick the streaming video? Doesn't seem likely.
On the other claims they could be true. But ask yourself this: aren't they a little vague? What is a traditional news site or a traditional shopping site? Couldn't it mean different things to different people? More importantly, don't teenagers (the majority of this demographic) tend to reject anything with the word "traditional" attached to it? Wouldn't they be more likely to answer "no" when asked if they visit traditional news sites?
The surprising thing about millennials is that they do read magazines, as do most of the other generations surveyed. Even when given the choice between a magazine’s web site and the paper magazine, respondents preferred the paper versions.
This is where we really start to see this bias. To be surprised by this is ridiculous. It's a proven fact that computer screens are harder on a person's eyes than paper. So to claim it's surprising that people of any age group would pick printed media for in-depth reading shows a judgement clouding bias.
The social messaging service Twitter has also become an extremely important form of communication, Moran said. Twitter, which wasn’t even on the radar in last year’s survey, is a prime example of how Millennial consumers can popularize a brand new technology, in contrast to past years when enterprises were the first to adopt things.
Ah Twitter, I was waiting for it to be mentioned. Now the claim here is that Millennials have "popularized" Twitter and that it is now an "extremely important form of communication" for this group. But according to Compete.com Twitter only has about 3.4 million unique visitors per month (of any age). That's worldwide.
Now compare that to the U.S. Census Bureau which states there are 51.2 million Millenials in the U.S. alone. So how important can it be? Which brings me to both my final quote and my point.
“Something like Twitter is anathema to corporations that worry about security and the lack of control over the technology,” Moran said. “It’s a perfect example of how power has shifted to users.”
Now first, this isn't about Twitter. It's about debunking yet another survey that was taken with a huge bias and then used as support for that bias.
On that note I have two points...
1. You have to use common sense when looking at surveys like this. Again, it isn't that this could be debunked it's that it was painfully easy to debunk. It defies basic common sense.
2. I'm not trying to be "anti-new media" here. I want new media to grow. But doing that requires having a realistic view of where it stands right now and bogus surveys that make it look more popular than it is don't help with that.
In the end, my hope with this post is that people will realize how harmful this type of information is and will start demanding more accuracy from companies that take these surveys. Only then will we know the truth about how popular new media is and only in knowing the truth will we be able to increase that popularity.