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Rick Wicklin

"What a surprise - the number of 'Likes' is insufficient to answer any of these questions."

Indeed. I think this is key. Society is getting lazy by measuring "popularity" by using easily available social media statistics such as the number of 'likes,' the number of followers on Twitter, or the number of hits for a Google search term. But statistics need to be evaluated for bias, variance, and those "lies and damned lies" that they potentially contain.

I've written a blog post on why it's a bad idea to estimate popularity based on the number of hits in a Google search:
http://blogs.sas.com/content/iml/2011/08/19/estimating-popularity-based-on-google-searches-why-its-a-bad-idea/

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