Quite a few of my readers don’t like social media, and don’t use it. Lucky buggers. One of the idiot things you miss out on is surveys. What happens is Mr Flat Earth does a poll, saying ‘Do you believe the Earth is flat or spherical?’ Mr Flat Earth’s followers, 99% of whom believe in a flat earth, answer ‘Flat’, and so Mr Flat Earth declares that the public has spoken and most people really believe in a flat earth, despite what the media tells you.
Actually, this is unfair to flat earthers, who are probably well aware that their view is not widely shared. But it is how most political Twitter polls work. Mr Crazy for Brexit and Ms Crazy for Remain run their respective polls, which, not surprisingly given the nature of their followers, give 85% support for their views, and then they declare victory.
The slightly less dim surveyors will say something like, “Well, this is not a scientific poll, I admit, but as a lot of people have answered, it’s probably close to being right”. Or they’ll say “Please retweet widely for a representative sample”. Of course the poll only gets retweeted widely amongst people with similar views, so a representative sample is most definitely not what they’ll get. Even if one of their enemies sees it they’re hardly going to engage with it.
The less dumb but more cynical know all this but say “Retweet widely” anyway, because for them it’s really all about promoting themselves (something I wrote about recently here).
The best Twitter polls are the humorous ones, such as this one of mine:
Who should replace Guy Fawkes on the bonfire? Have your say.
— Hector Drummond #StayHomeWatchSocietyCrumble (@hector_drummond) January 13, 2019
It has to be May, though, doesn’t it?