Yes I’m back.
Yes, I had a great time and yes, I finally saw my windmill in the flesh.
But it was work. It really was.
Now, of course, I know you don’t believe me and think I basically blagged another free ‘holiday’, so it’s only apt that today’s post is about bullshitting. Or more specifically, how to spot when someone is bullshitting.
Which I am not. I really was working.
Anyway, I digress …
Recently I came across something called, ‘Will Betteridge’s law of headlines’.
It is a concept that changes the way you will look at newspapers, research reports and planning documents forever.
In essence, Betteridge’s law states:
‘Any headline that ends in a question mark means the story can likely be dismissed.’
That’s right, if the headline has a question mark at the end, the likelihood is the answer to what is being suggested is “No”.
Because if the story was true, then the headline would have been written from a totally different perspective … a perspective based on facts, not suggestion.
ARE WE WITNESSING THE END OF ADVERTISING?
THE WORLD’S 20 BIGGEST ADVERTISING SPENDERS HAVE ALL STOPPED ADVERTISING FOR THE PAST 3 MONTHS.
See the difference?
One is ‘attention bait’ while the other is what would have been written if the story had merit.
You know … when there is undeniable and consistent facts to prove their point of view.
But it’s not just newspapers that do this … how many research reports have you read that offer provocative ‘trend statements’ based on either a ridiculously small sample size or some ridiculous ‘future implication thinking’ and don’t get me started on planner documents.
Or political manifestos.
Especially political manifestos.
I love this ‘law’.
Of course I know there are exceptions … and I also know that sometimes, asking a question can lead to new thinking or different perspectives on old issues … however when an organisation does it because their business model is based on ‘selling’, it serves as an interesting early warning whether you should pay any attention to what is being said or simply move on to something that has some definitive value in it.
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