Anatomy Of A Viral News Story

Anatomy Of A Viral News Story
Or Why Online News Is So Crap

So there’s a story doing the rounds about a survey where 10% of Amer­i­cans think HTML is a sexu­ally trans­mitted disease, 12% think USB is a Euro­pean country and various other silliness.

It’s a funny story and it does tend to rein­force what we tend to think about the public’s ignorance.

One minor problem… this survey wasn’t run scien­tif­i­cally (basi­cally it was emailed to people) and the way the ques­tions are worded encour­ages silly answers.

But has that stopped people, blogs and news sites from just blindly repeating it?


The LA Times reported today on a UK coupon website’s survey of Amer­i­cans saying that 1 out of 10 Amer­i­cans thought HTML is an STD.

From there, several news sit

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