March 26, 2013

A Meme to Remind Me

I made myself a meme! Okay, it's not really a meme because it isn't going viral, but I used an online "meme generator" to put text on an iconic image. Actually the Uncle Sam image was a meme before I added my text to it.
Definition of Meme: Idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.
The reason I made this graphic is to remind myself to not act like an internet cop! Sometimes I can't resist the temptation to chide people for spreading untrue internet rumors, for instance. But perhaps it's better to let that junk float by without correcting it. In any case I need to be careful not to make a friend look like a fool every time they hit the Share button without thinking!

Still, it drives me nuts when intelligent people believe every internet graphic that supports their point of view, or stories gleaned from websites that don't bother to fact-check.  Well, some commenters on a related post pointed out that (1) you can just move on or ignore them, (2) there's a book called How to Lie with Statistics, and (3) the statement "It's documented on the internet" probably isn't worth arguing over!

Funny thing about statistics: I used to code web pages for a statistical association and everyone in that field is familiar with the phrase "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Even the most impressive data can mislead you. Retain your skepticism.


  1. There are a lot of those Memes on facebook. Some of them are really cute and others are just down right stupid.

  2. haha that is true...i have to remind myself of this sometimes on facebook, where it is the worst....some people get so annoying thinking they are the internet police!

  3. When I was working on my masters, I took an entire class looking at how pop culture twists statistics. It was interesting.

  4. Too much aggravation correcting people! Most of the time they don't WANT to know the correct information. I salute you for trying though :)

  5. I applaud people who try to correct some of the really outrageous stuff that goes around on the internet, but personally I find it too exhausting.

  6. Great advice. I used to teach statistics and am familiar with both the book and the saying.

  7. So true! Actually, I work a lot with statistics for my job and while we try our best to use this powerful tool (which is all it is) in the most rigorous, accurate way possible, it's scary how easily it can be twisted and misapplied! And the common layperson would never know!


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