Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Internet Survey Answerman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Internet Survey Answerman

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK - There was a time when surveys were for some elite people in society none of us knew. They were a shadowy bunch, 93 percent of whom opposed Carrot Top's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. OK, so I made that up.

They rated presidents' job performances, opined on taxes, wars, prime-time TV shows and peanut butter.

I was always jealous of people who were polled, but no more. We're inundated with polls and surveys. While you're checking out some Web sites, a little box pops up in a corner saying, "Your opinion matters. Please participate in a brief survey."

Who am I to refuse?

Some are simple. Recently, I opined that Michael Vick should never play football in Atlanta again. I cast that vote on behalf of Gracie, our pit pull/lab/whatever mix.

The first thing most Internet surveys want to know is my age. When I click on 55-60, I'm told I don't fit the requirements. They probably want someone who's, like, 18 to, like, 25, and who surfs MySpace and YouTube and never, like, misses an episode of The Real World.

They did let me in on a couple of surveys, but I'm not sure I understood all the questions.

"How would you define a smart phone?" one asked.

I replied it's a phone that doesn't ring during dinner, the Georgia-Florida football game or while I'm sleeping.

Then they asked me to name a brand of smart phone. Among the potential answers were Apple and BlackBerry, which I thought belonged in my grocer's produce section.

They also wanted my opinion of Samsung. "It's grammatically incorrect," I said. It should be Samsang.

Other people - including some very important ones - take surveys. Time magazine asked the spouses of the presidential candidates a list of questions, including their favorite TV shows, the first lady they most admire and so on. …

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