Just over four years ago, I wrote a post called Sticky Information. It’s a topic I rarely see discussed but it can have a big influence on our decisions and actions. If we ‘like’ a piece of information, we will cling on to it often in the face of any attempts to alter that state. Equally, information that doesn’t fit our view quickly slips into obscurity. We do not treat all information equally.
The Nielson Company, publisher of web trends, has come a cropper with a statistic for iPad downloads. Their original article claimed one third of iPad owners have never downloaded an app. A startlingly sticky statistic that was promptly regurgitated on many news sites. The Nielson Company has since updated the article and corrected the number from 32% to 9%, a pretty big reduction. But news sites don’t tend to hang around a story for long. I wonder how many will correct their articles or will someone come across and use the incorrect data. Unlikely to be serious consequences for this one but it shows the importance of checking and re-checking original sources when relying statistics…
- Sticky Information – blog post, September 2006
- Nielsen cops to iPad stat cock-up – The Register, October 2010