Another instance of a polling firm’s analysis being called into question as an effect of them not having properly defined a term in their survey prompt.

Perhaps because they used the broad term “impact” it is that 72% of respondents, a clear and broad majority, say the internet hasn’t affected their relationships, even when the rest of the survey findings so effectively argue against that very assertion. 

Hopefully, the fact that this seems to be the main survey question won’t keep the media and miscellaneous commentators from discussing the very important implications of the rest of these findings: the internet is inconspicuously permeating aspects of our lives that seem, upon first glance, to be untouched and untouchable by our increasingly digital lives.

As the author, Robinson Meyer, so elegantly puts it: "…perhaps the most serious conclusion of the finding comes for people who try to think considerately and seriously about the Internet, and about how others think about the Internet. This survey by the Pew should counter our expectations."

Let’s just hope Snapchat wedding proposals don’t become a thing in the future. 

Musings from a hopeless (yet pragmatic) idealist.


Gallup reported late last year that most American citizens identify “big government” as the greatest threat to the future of the country. A distant second, “big business” was found to pose a threat to the future for only 21 percent of respondents.

The Gallup survey question and results analysis fails to define the concept of “big government” as it pertains to survey respondents and readers. While, from the point of view of those of us who yearn for more constructive, well-informed dialogue in the media, their failure to define the term might seem irresponsible or like a missed opportunity, it’s easy to understand why Gallup would do this — and has repeatedly done this — purposefully: precisely to point out survey respondents’ perceptions and potential gaps in understanding regarding the country’s political landscape.

Historically, conservatives in government have succeeded in taking this relatively sterile “big government” term and affixing to it a narrative that is as anti-liberal as it is terrifying for its lack of nuance. The whole exercise is quite the coup on their part. Thanks to the myriad right-of-center candidates stumping during the last several campaign cycles, “big government” now reminds the majority of Americans of high taxes, bureaucracy and inefficiency, government snooping — which, hey, might be justified — and all manners of economic and social authoritarianism.

The narrative has been so effective that it hasn’t seeped only into conservative minds. Gallup reports that 56% of Democrats and 71% of Independents are concerned about “big government.” These are all people who’ve been effectively convinced of the fact that big government means absolutely nothing but bad things, as opposed to roads that are fixed faster, more buses that arrive on time, help for your family if you lose your job, guaranteed healthcare regardless of pre-existing conditions, protection for disenfranchised populations, etc.

The public being gripped by this narrative is dangerous, not only because the narrative is specious, but also because it prevents people from focusing on the competing narrative that the Gallup survey mentions and which, I believe, is of greater importance.

Big corporations are dipping with more frequency and energy into areas of life and policy that had never been their purview before and were exclusively that of government by law and tradition. From education to credit card regulations, big business has become increasingly active in the government sphere in recent years. But citizens forget that business’s focus is not to serve the citizens, like government’s is, but to look out for the interests of their owners and shareholders.

With this knowledge and perhaps more research in mind, the average citizen should expand on Gallup’s survey question and ask him/herself: what really is the greatest threat to my future well-being as an American citizen: big government, or big business?

And, if government is all that bad, like we’ve been told, why are corporations spending so much money to try to control it?