Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No, You Can't Use Flickr To Infer Things About Everyone

Suprise surprise, MG Siegler is once again talking out of his daire aire when it comes to supporting his favourite company on Earth. Recently he's been posting cameraphone stats from Flickr on his Tumblr blog. Take it away, MG:

The good news: Android is finally on the verge of overtaking an iOS device on the chart.

The bad news: this iOS device is four years old. It’s so old, in fact, that the iPhone 3G was taken off the market by Apple a year ago. Yet there still isn’t a single Android device that can pass it on this chart. Pretty pathetic.

The other bad news: the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are so far ahead of the rest of the cameraphone pack that it seems highly unlikely that any Android device will come close anytime soon. In fact, they’re the number one and number two cameras used to take Flickr photos, period. Not smartphone cameras — cameras, cameras.

The really bad news: the new iPhone is a month away.

Unfortunately, the really really bad news for MG's argument is that Flickr isn't used by normal people.[1] It's used by photographers, who actually want to showcase their work, as opposed to people showing off their snaps of their drunken party - thus the stats are highly skewed. It'd be like pointing to Ars Technica as representative of browser market share - yay, IE at 10% share!

Since MG makes a big deal about the iPhone holding the top two slots in cameraville, let's take a look at that chart:

You see the other three cameras? They're all DSLRs. Even the point-and-shoot cameras are all high end. This is a good example of how Flickr is not representitive, unless MG is willing to say that the most popular camera in the world is a DSLR.

If we were to draw any conclusions, it's that people who have high end cameras are also more likely to have an iPhone (as opposed to something cheaper.) In fact, I'd think it most likely that people are using the iPhone as their secondary (i.e. backup) camera, and it's the sheer number of people doing it that's propelled it to the front of the stats. (This is backed up by the fact that back in 2008 the most popular camera on Flickr was a high-end point-and-shoot.)

So basically, MG's making some more hay that amounts to, essentially, nothing. What a surprise.

[1] Okay, sure, some normal people use it, but some people use deviantART and Flickr for storing screenshots - that doesn't make it a good indication of anything.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why Twitter is a terrible place to debate

I’ve had a few debates on Twitter, and pretty much all of them have been annoying.

No, not because of people who don’t get what I’m trying to say (although they are annoying) but because of Twitter itself.

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty:

  1. 140 characters are simply not enough. Don’t get me wrong, the character limits are great for certain things – many times I’ve found a better way of expressing my thoughts than initially when trying to fit within 140 characters.

    That’s all very well when updating my status or expressing isolated thoughts. But when I’m shooting off replies in a debate, I’ve invariably needed to abbreviate, mangle my grammar, and split tweets to fit within the character limit.

    That last one brings me to:
  2. People will try to reply to your tweets, even if you haven’t finished making your point. In my experience, the debater invariantly tries to reply to your first point before you make your second point.

    Sometimes they do so with something that would have been answered in your second point. But often it’s something that takes you on a long winding tangent away from the original topic, especially if they can continuously reply before you can actually finish writing your second point.

I’m probably not going to stop debating on Twitter, though, but I am going to consider taking it to Google+ if it warrants a long response (or my blog, if I think it’s interesting enough to write at even greater length.)