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.

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