Data is fascinating, and the proliferation of pseudo-scientific headlines and fancy charts across the internet only feed our obsession with numbers. But data can also be easily manipulated to serve a narrative that is flashier and more interesting than the truth. How do you recognize it when this is the case? Dr. John Johnson has some ideas.
John shares some fascinating case studies from his book Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day that demonstrate possible pitfalls of our fascination with data.
Dr. John H. Johnson is a professional economist, author, and speaker. He’s known internationally for his ability to explain highly sophisticated concepts in a simple, straightforward manner. He’s also President and CEO of Edgeworth Economics.
We start off debunking a couple humorous cases of manipulated data (think: pregnant men in the UK and grilled cheese leading to a better love life) and John explains why we’re so susceptible to questionable data. John also shares his thoughts on the relationship between content marketing and data, and some statistics about the credibility boost enjoyed by articles with seemingly scientific graphics.
John’s work on data is amusing, insightful, and useful for anybody that tries to persuade others with data. His thoughts on presenting data in truthful yet engaging ways will surely leave you questioning the data you come across in your day-to-day existence.
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On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:
- How many articles use data to mislead their audience and garner more clicks.
- Why it’s important to be skeptical of data, including that from academic research.
- Why people should feel empowered by data, rather than terrified or overwhelmed.
- What good data and honest presentation can do to help you stand out in the crowded content of the internet.
- The challenge of disentangling correlation and causation to get to the real root of what data reveals.
- How graphs can be manipulated to make findings seem more significant and persuasive.
Key Resources for John Johnson and how numbers persuade you:
- Connect with John: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn
- Amazon: Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day
- Kindle: Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day
- Audible: Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day
- Grilled Cheese Lovers Have More Sex And Are Better People, According To Survey
- EVERYDATA: Misinformation Hidden in Everyday Data from John Johnson, PhD & Mike Gluck at TEDxBuffalo
- College Confidential
- US News College Rankings
- Moz SEO Software
- John’s Column for The Huffington Post
- Search Engine Mastery with Stephan Spencer on The Brainfluence Podcast
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Full Episode Transcript: