The genesis of “research-horsesht”

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This is a very large petard. And a lot of people are making some elementary handling errors (let’s be charitable).

The objective, of course, is easy copy and easy clicks. For this industry, it’s terribly tabloid, and likely to prove pernicious.


Bob Hoffman, bitching again.

And bitching, as ever, with purpose and panache.

The research world should be grateful he finds us so utterly dull or we would be permanently at the pillory.

You know how it happens – generally – if you’ve been there:

  • PR opportunity comes up.
  • Senior person can’t be arsed talking to weird researchers.
  • Sends inadequate brief to researcher.
  • Researcher gets the hump because s/he hasn’t been properly consulted.
  • Researcher sends it down the chain to a Junior “because it isn’t client work”.
  • [Smug, bitter grin.]
  • Junior kinda understands the objective and produces inadequate questionnaire.
  • This is approved by PR contact, who doesn’t know arse from elbow
  • [“Are you sure that’s not my elbow?”]
  • So Junior does stuff, carries out useless survey etc; hands data file to said PR contact
  • … Data file swiftly passed on to Data Monkey
  • “WTF? I wasn’t told about this.”
  • Data Monkey bitterly knocks out a spreadsheet
  • And, WOW wow wow, look at this: the person who can write delivers a few paragraphs on data s/he doesn’t understand, thinking about clicks before facts, making sure the message is delivered
  • [“Digital is such a great great thing.”]
  • Never mind the stats, feel the story.

And suddenly it feels like it’s fallen somewhere between the bend of horsesht – where groupthink, optimism and naivete happily combine – and the snap of outright lying.

You’d think even the current generation of CMOs and aspiring Juniors  – those who’ve been brought up knowing that most of the junk we hear and read about online behaviour must at some stage rub shoulders with some of those legendary “ordinary people”  – would say:

“Hang on. That can’t be right. That’s bollcks.”

Storytelling is exactly what it is.

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

We have to be careful in this age of #fakenews.

This is a very large petard. And a lot of people are making some elementary handling errors (let’s be charitable).

The objective, of course, is easy copy and easy clicks.  For this industry, it’s terribly tabloid, and likely to prove pernicious.

It’s obvious.

We’re all consumers, and this stuff, you can smell it a mile off.

If you can’t, ask for help.