The Squeaky Wheels: A Lesson in #Anecdotal Experience @Erik_Nowak #movie #statistics

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On April 3, 2020, I posted my observations made during the quarantine watch party of Shazam. During a resultant discussion on Facebook, I referenced haters of the film, to which my friend, Erik, responded, “I’m sure they’re out there, but I can’t think of anyone in my real life who saw it and didn’t like Shazam.” My impression is that people hated the film, but Rotten Tomatoes says otherwise: critics at 90%, and audience at 82%. This reminded me of a nearly identical conversation with Erik about District 9, and Rotten Tomatoes tells the exact same story: critics at 90%, and audience at 82%. (I’m going to try not to get distracted by how weird of a coincidence all of this is.)

Sometimes when I post about a movie, all I get are negative reactions. Sometimes all I get are positive reactions. In either case, I don’t really know whether I should view the movie in question as a guilty pleasure or myself as one of the sheeple. (Reign of Fire remains a guilty pleasure at 42%/49%.) Our Facebook and Twitter streams provide relatively small amounts of data and aren’t random sources. There’s too much commonality in our respective audiences, especially considering that, even if you feel you’re open-minded, you probably live in a bubble. I’m not just talking about political bubbles, but also social bubbles defined by hobbies and such.

Don’t let the squeaky wheel dictate your worldview. Take it for what it is: sometimes thought-provoking but rarely dispositive of anything important. You may make a mistake far greater than this one.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Erik Nowak @Erik_Nowak


3 thoughts on “The Squeaky Wheels: A Lesson in #Anecdotal Experience @Erik_Nowak #movie #statistics

  1. […] As a free speech nut, I’m completely fine with you spewing your hate; I just have a problem with the weakness society has embraced allowing your hate to cause them to self-censor themselves. No one’s opinion is more entitled to be voiced than any other’s. The second we abandon that principle, everyone will be censored. You need support for that assertion? Look around you, America. It’s everywhere. But the fact that this phenomenon favors hate is a bit disturbing and explains how we get the impression that beloved things are largely hated. […]


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