Lance Scranton: And the survey says …
Why do you give your opinion? Why would you spend time filling out a survey?
Just about everything we do these days can be summed up by taking a survey. Companies spend millions of dollars every year finding ways to elicit reviews from customers, and social media takes instant surveys in the form of “likes” and various emojis.
Recently, our legal system took action against companies that were posting fake reviews and survey results to bolster their ratings.
Obviously, survey results are important metrics that help drive business and personal success. Surveys have crept into just about every area of our lives, including social media sites where “likes” and “dislikes” are counted when posting pictures, messages, or snapshots of our lives.
What if you were so enamored by the views and reactions of others that you measured everything you did by the opinions of others? Feedback is a powerful tool in the hands of those who understand the value of constructive criticism and beneficial reminders. Letting a coffee shop know that their morning barista doesn’t foam your milk very well would be a really good thing to know! But, shockingly, there are stories of people who take their own lives because they are so caught up in the views and opinions of others on social media.
Surveys and reviews are generally the places where very satisfied or very unsatisfied people spend their time. Like so many feedback systems people use, it very much depends on a select audience of really happy or really disgruntled customers.
Like surveys, social media pretends to tell us how acceptable we are by the number of comments.
We are studying about how President Lincoln prosecuted a fairly unpopular Civil War and refused any talk of peace unless the United States stayed intact. His resolve (and his sacrifice) had a huge impact on how we view our country today.
This used to be known as leadership, but in a world that clamors for acceptance, it’s no wonder that people, politicians, and political parties find it difficult to stand up to the survey results.
When you’re standing on principle, and it’s not popular, should you be moved by what the survey says? The popular isn’t always what’s right, and in the harried race to make sure we are acceptable to others, sometimes we can become unacceptable to ourselves.
Make sure you know who you are, what you stand for, and how you make your decisions, because living in a world of surveys can lead to some decisions that might be popular right now but end up exacting a price that can’t be measured in dollars — or sense!
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.
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