Thursday, September 06, 2007

Land Lines vs Cell Phones

Since I live by Notre Dame we get lots of local news on things going on at the campus. Let's not talk about the painful football situation, but something almost as painful. Of the 7000 students that live in the dorms they just released the figure for the number of students that requested to have their land line telephone jacks in the rooms turned on. THE NUMBER - 18!!!!!!!! We don't even need too translate that into a percentage - it's so small why bother. Of course the students use their cell phones and have no need for land lines.

How will Arbitron contact them to fill out a diary? How will we research their music tastes? How will Hillary do any polling on them for the election? They won't. Will these people get a land line when they leave school - why? And if they did why answer it?

We need a new way to gather samples. Gathering them in the mail, via email, social networks, IM them, or maybe we can text them. Up until now Arbitron and most researchers are reluctant to bring in another sample base to the mix. When you have 2-3 different ways of gathering sample it does change the universe you are working with and all the probability and stat formulas we work with suddenly become very confusing and complex. But, we need to find a way. Running around with data that only talks to the last people left with a land line - the baby boomers and seniors is not telling us the real picture. It's going to be up to us to keep the pressure on the people doing our research to seek out new ways of building the sample.

We need to talk to the audience.

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