Lesson Learned via Opinion Poll

opinon poll responses

Row 1 – my response. Row 4 – the only organic response. Rows 2&3 – invited by me.

The stats:

  • Very few people will respond. (3 responses, not including my original test of the form)
  • A subset people who like your Facebook fan page will click the post. (23 out of 101)
  • Of those who do click, an even smaller (percentage based) subset voluntarily participates, where voluntarily means without being prompted by me. (1 of 23)

The issue:

The poll was, ostensibly, an attempt to determine who cares about grammar. In retrospect, it may just have been one more way for this author to rail about the apparent lack of concern Social Media users and in some cases; writers in general, have about the proper use of grammar, punctuation, and sentence syntax in the things they post online. Given the length of that last sentence, I now experience angst over that very same issue. Did I get it right?

The questions:

One of my respondents asked me for my answers and it made me realize that the questions are based on my reactions to poor grammar, and how I feel when I see it used in posts on Social Media. (Here, for your perusal, a link to the original poll.)

My reactions are one, or more, of these:

  1. I want to put the writer in a headlock and rub my fist on his hairy head, until he gets the idea that good grammar and proper English usage does matter. That’s my version of senseless violence (question #1 in the poll). “I want to (fill in senseless violent act here) the writer!”
  2. I stop reading after I encounter the first few errors (unless the material is very important to me.)
  3. I empathize with the author, especially if I believe they simply must produce content on a deadline, and I appreciate content they’ve produced in the past. In these cases, I usually point out the error and let them do what they will with my feedback. Most often, I get appreciation as their response.
  4. I notice them and I decide to continue reading, or not, but it’s never, “no big deal.” In fact, refer to response number two. It is a deal breaker, unless the content is important to me.
  5. Finally, here is one last iteration on the fact that the usefulness of the content is the greatest qualifier. Perhaps, “upset” is not the correct word, as more often than not, I feel compassion for my fellow writers.

Lessons learned:

  • Do some research on opinion polls before you create (your next) one.
  • Don’t expect a response that provides any meaningful information.
  • Test the idea of asking for identification and permission to use respondents’ information in posting results.