Survey Results Say: Don't Catch This Tech Phrase | TechWell

Survey Results Say: Don't Catch This Tech Phrase

There has been a strong push for teaching programming and computer skills to American students and children—from the Hour of Code campaign to the legislations recently passed to allow for programming languages to count as a foreign language requirement in public schools. The argument has gained traction, and those in favor of teaching programming in schools may have just gotten more support for their objective.

VoucherCloud, a coupon and discount aggregating website, conducted a survey of their user base’s knowledge of computer and tech terms. The results of the survey, which accounted for the opinions of nearly 2,400 people age eighteen or older, were slightly alarming.

Perhaps the most amusing finding from the survey was that despite 61 percent of respondents to the survey saying that it was important to have a good knowledge of technology, nearly one in nine individuals believed that HTML, which is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language, had nothing to do with computers but was actually a sexually transmitted disease.

The fun—or humiliation—didn’t stop there. Other findings of the survey showed that 23 percent of respondents mistook MP3, which is an audio file format, for a robot from the Star Wars franchise. Forty-two percent of respondents believed that the term “motherboard” referred to part of a cruise ship, not the circuit board in a computer. Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that 77 percent of survey takers did not know what SEO stands for.

If you read these results and immediately questioned the legitimacy of the survey, you wouldn’t be the first. Journalism watchdog website iMediaEthics pounced on the survey as soon as large media outlets like Time and the Los Angeles Times picked up the survey. iMediaEthics questioned the methodology, sample size, and response credibility of the survey.

In response to the outcry for legitimacy, several media outlets updated their articles with disclaimers or published the press release from VoucherCloud that notes that their public relations firm, 10 Yetis, was responsible for the survey. Eventually, the survey results were released in full, and Leanne Thomas, a senior account executive and spokesperson for 10 Yetis, gave a statement for the company, saying the survey is "100% genuine. It's a valid survey."

Regardless of the questions surrounding the survey’s legitimacy, some have decided the results make sense and there is “something oddly human” about them. Chris Matyszczyk of CNET chose to take a more positive response to the viral findings of the survey: "Personally, I find these results both astonishing and refreshing. If only 11 percent of Americans think you can catch HTML from a night with a tattooed Fresno bartender, that may mean 89 percent know what it is."

Do you weep for mankind? How important is it for everyone to have a good understanding of common tech terms? Tell us in the comments below.

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