It was George Gallup's successful prediction that Franklin Roosevelt would defeat Alf Landon for the U.S. presidency that made his reputation as a poll-taker; most other polls had Landon winning by a landslide.
I remember reading that one of the reasons behind Gallup's correct prediction was that his competitors had based their predictions on surveys conducted via telephone. Trouble was, back then only the well-to-do owned telephones, thereby skewing the results of Gallup's competitors.
Many predict that Republicans will take Congress in today's voting. And, today, as in 1936, telephones may prove many poll-takers wrong.
Some suggest that today's poll numbers are skewed because surveys have been conducted via land lines and generally younger, generally better educated voters -- who are generally Democrats and left-leaning Independents -- no longer have land lines.
The social media evangelists can’t stop talking, posting, texting and Tweeting about the advertising/marketing potential of social media. To hear them tell it, the social media are a revolutionary, game-changing, paradigm-shifting, cataclysmic phenomenon that’s about to change how advertisers talk to customers and prospects.
Being a natural skeptic and distrusting of anyone who talks breathlessly about “revolutions,” I’m still not convinced that social media will have an earth-shattering impact on how advertisers and marketers try to influence consumers.
So I did a little experiment.
A totally unscientific experiment, to be sure, but I thought the results were interesting.
I read through seven days’ worth of posts on my Facebook wall in search of messages that might influence me as a consumer. Here’s what I found:
26 mentions of vacation/weekend/day trip destinations
13 links or mentions of entertainment (books, music, TV shows and feature films)
6 instances of friends actively job hunting or promoting their own or a friend’s company
6 links to news content
4 mentions of bricks and mortar stores
4 links to blog content
3 mentions of specific bars or restaurants
1 mention of a charity
1 link to an actual ad
1 actual brand recommendation (someone spoke very favorably about Verizon FiOS)
Other specific brand names mentioned:
2 Farmer’s Almanac
1 Mango Salon & Spa
1 Boston University
1 SUNY Buffalo
1 Betty Crocker
What does this mean?
That I had too much time on my hands, for one thing, because it took about an hour to compile the above list.
And I think that, in the context of advertising and marketing, Facebook has brought more water cooler-quality conversations into my life. Interesting and fun, but not life-altering. Not yet, anyway.