I guess people who read Vanity Fair and watch 60 Minutes don’t have Kara Swisher’s real-life friends to let them know what real people think.
For those who don’t know who Kara is, she’s the plugged-in and influential tech journalist/pundit who last year wrote about an informal poll she conducted among friends outside of her professionally tech-obsessed circle of acquaintances:
“I conducted a little experiment among the more than 100 folks gathered for the wedding (in Washington, DC), all of whom were quite intelligent, armed with all kinds of the latest devices (many, many people had iPhones, for example) and not sluggish about technology. They were also made up of a wide range of ages and genders, from kids to seniors. And so I asked a large group of people – about 30 — and here is the grand total who knew what Twitter was: 0.”
I don’t recall exactly what Kara’s point was at the time, but history teaches us that she is smart to separate her professional insight of technology developments from her amateur interests in polling “real people.”
Now, the editors of Vanity Fair and producers of 60 Minutes have joined up, to discover, sorta like Kara did, what’s up in the hinterlands. And they’ve discovered, get this, people out there think Wal-Mart is a better symbol of America than, say, Barneys. Other findings of what real-people think: Half the respondents say taxing the richest Americans by at least 50 percent is a great idea*, while more than a third consider Twitter a fad that will likely fade.
Of course, the real reason Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes have teamed up on such a poll is to reassure their audiences that they are special because they have higher reasoning skills than ordinary people who live more than 90 miles from a coastal region.
For the record, let me say that I agree with the third of people who think Twitter is a fad that will likely fade. Of course, I also think that about 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair.
*I’m going to leave the “Wal-Mart shoppers think you should tax rich people more” debate to historians and economists who have plenty of examples of what happens when you institute tax policies designed to go after “people behind that tree.”