Data vs. Common Sense

by Trudy on September 21, 2013

This is a quick follow up to a blog I wrote on August 2 about people who want to lead need to step up to a degree of integrity.

Shortly after I wrote that blog, I read a startling article that talked of a study from Indiana University that posits, “For Political Candidates, All Twitter Publicity is Good Publicity”. It showed a correlation between social media posts and the number of votes the political candidate would get.  The more of one, the more of the other.

I thought, surely this cannot be. Human kind was not that checked out about the details of events and they could not be simplistically led by popularity. Or at least I hoped.

So I bided my time and waited hopefully.

A month later, much to my glee, human discretion and critical thinking prevailed! Sext scandal beleaguered NYC mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, failed in his political bid (he got just 5% of the vote!).

Yahoo to the people of NYC, I hoped you had it in you, and you did. Well done, you exercised your voice and showed that you require more integrity in your leaders.

This is a good reminder of how dangerous it can be to just accept data; especially data that just seems wrong and insulting dumbs people down. In these kinds of cases when you wonder what is going on, there is often more to the data story that needs to be explored. Data should never override common sense without being robustly challenged.

Data is a great tool, but so is common sense.

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