An opinion, followed by "study finds", is still an opinion

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: July 7, 2013

Incoming rant.

As fans who are devoted to mobile tech, our ultimate goal is to geek out over new technology and try and find the best phone that suits our needs. Let's reiterate the last part of that sentence: "...the best phone that suits our needs." I don't mean "our" as in "all of us collectively need the same device"; I mean it in a way to say that each of us have our own set of criteria that we look for when searching for a phone. We type this criteria into a search engine and we set off to find our next "it" device - the perfect device for us. When you finally narrow down which phone you think would work best for you, if you're anything like me, your next step is likely off to find reviews.

Sometimes you find relatively unbiased reviews, and other times you'll find articles that might be best to disregard.

I hate saying that, because as a tech writer myself I know that a lot of the time we do come off as biased - I know that I come off as biased, but in my defense I try my best to still shed a little light on phones that I'm not particularly fond of, because I know that just because it's not the phone for me doesn't mean it's not the phone for somebody else. If you're on the lookout for opinions about a certain device, I encourage people to read multiple reviews, articles, and watch review videos so that you can find difference in opinions. I would never suggest somebody read an article I wrote on why I don't like the iPhone 5 and completely disregard the comments and debates that follow that would swear by the device. My articles are not law, they are opinion, and should be treated as such. Many articles on tech websites are the same way, but sometimes you come across articles that try to come across as being factual when they, too, exhibit biased opinions.

Between today and yesterday I've seen one particular post spread like wildfire, and naturally it has an igniting title that's labeled "Apple's iPhone 5 is the most hated handset - while the majority of people love the Samsung Galaxy S4, study finds". The article has been shared through various news networks, but it seems the source of the article comes from a study conducted by a company called We Are Social for the Daily Mail, a British news website. Of course, at a glance, you already know that the article would be a hot spot for the classic "Apple vs. Android" debate; you don't need to read the article to know that. But if by chance you did happen to read the article, you'd know that the title was only meant to start a fire.

The study found that after the launch of the iPhone 5, 20% of the social media posts were "comments about the brand with a negative connotation" as oppose to the Galaxy S 4's 11%. That's a huge jump in percentages, and would seem to support the idea stated in the title, except for there is still a huge gap in how many people conversed about the iPhone 5 after its launch compared to the Galaxy S 4: 1.7 million for the iPhone 5 compared to 140,000 for the Galaxy S 4. Considering that the iPhone had over twelve times as many posts as the Galaxy S 4, 20% seems reasonable to me, especially from a money-making standpoint.

I think what trips me out is that the study doesn't specifically say that people made these comments claiming to "hate" the iPhone or "love" the Galaxy S 4 - they merely took into consideration how many people complained about the features of each device compared to the amount of conversations held about each device, and it only accounts for half of the study. The other half talks about how much people talked about new features on the device (Galaxy S 4 'won') and brand loyalty (Apple 'won').

And of course there's that huge fact that they're only talking about launch day conversations and nothing else that followed; this decision that the iPhone 5 is the "most hated" phone or that the Galaxy S 4 is the "most loved" is based entirely on hype, which is all fine and dandy except for they just have to throw in extremes like "most hated" and "most loved" when nowhere in the article does it say that this study counted the number of times people said "I hate the iPhone 5," or "I love the Galaxy S 4," although I'm sure it was said on numerous occasions during these conversations. But yeah, I guess I can see where one can turn "I hate the new Lightning cable," into "I hate the iPhone 5." It's pretty much the same thing, right?

My point here isn't that the study itself wasn't an interesting read, but moreso that an extreme title like that with nothing to support the claim, despite the "study finds" aspect of the title, is exactly the kind of statements that people in this industry need to stay away from. Just because people don't like certain aspects of a phone doesn't necessarily mean it's hated, especially considering this study in particular in no way proves that the iPhone 5 is the "most hated" device, or that the Galaxy S 4 is the "most loved". It's only fueling a fire that people love to get involved in, which is why so many people have been sharing the article on Facebook. If a tech website conducts a study, I feel the article should focus more on the facts rather than the extreme conclusion somebody came to regarding the outcome. The readers can form their own conclusion about the study, but thanks for pouring gasoline into the fire!

Images via Gizmag, iClarified

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