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Tuesday, 01 November 2011 08:03

How Do You Measure Love?

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More and more, I’m realising that numbers can say anything you want them to.

Statistics have taken over my life.

Numbers were never a very strong point of mine, but I’m reading the latest UK Gambling Commission reports and trying to figure out what’s going on in the bingo industry and whether or not bingo games are getting more popular. And what I’m realising is that when people say ‘numbers don’t lie’, they don’t understand what they’re talking about.

Numbers lie all the time (unless you’re talking about bingo games, in which case it’s pretty much a got it/don’t have it situation). They can be twisted, made to suit, spun and painted in a different light. When I took a market research class back in university, the lecturer told me that the greatest mistake you could make was to trust the numbers. Why? Well, because they only tell half the story. If you took a poll as to whether or not you’d visited an art gallery, you’d likely receive quite a high ‘yes’ response rate. But it wouldn’t tell you anything about how the respondents feel about art, or going to galleries.

Similarly, if you read that online bingo and the National Lottery have had a 0.1% increase in participants, you might dismiss it as nothing. When you have a statistic that says that just 3.4% of the 56.7% of adults play bingo, you might be inclined to dismiss it as a minority game (even though this means that over a million adults in the UK play).

But what a poll doesn’t tell you is how bingo players feel about their game; how they look forward to hanging out with their roomies, how they excitedly tell each other about the best online bingo sites, how much attention they pay to the game or how much they love when their numbers come up. How do you measure love?

So, friends, let this be a lesson to you: numbers do lie. I’m 100% sure of it.