Sunday, 19 June 2016

Genealogy the 2nd most popular hobby?

The statement popped up again in this CBS News item. "Family history is the second most popular hobby after gardening, and the second most visited web resource after porn." Where do they get that?

The average Canadian adult watches 30 hours of television a week, according to BBM Canada. Isn't watching TV a hobby, defined as an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure?

If family history is the second most visited web resource why does only rank 449th on Multiple news, weather, sports and video/music sites rank higher. YouTube and Netflix rank second and 35th.

If I'm mistaken where's the evidence?


Gail B said...

I'm going 'off-subject' here, but how many news reports have you read that headlines 'such and such is happening, "study says", or "research shows" without citing sources? Citing sources is integral to genealogists confirmation of events.

A favourite here is a huge billboard in front of the about to be built mental health centre which boldly states "One in five children has a mental health problem". Period. No source, no evidence at all cited. Then, one asks, what is a "mental health problem". It is fear-mongering, and marketing, that is all it is.

Sorry, I digress.

Douglas Hill said...

I think their definition of "hobby" must include actively doing something (searching sources, talking to relatives, etc) rather than passively watching TV. And actively bringing the beer glass to your lips isn't active enough!

Jacqi Stevens said...

It's a meme, and an old one at that. At least, that's how it seems to be in the world of journalism, where copywriters are known to pick up and pass along "facts," sight unseen.

As much as we may like to think it's true, it's a claim which has been mentioned and analyzed--and dismissed--in a few genealogy blogs over the years. One such example comes to mind from James Tanner's Genealogy Star in 2013, where he attributes the source to a 2005 poll done by a marketing research firm.

Still others cite a story by ABC News--which might refer to this example from 2012, including such wiggle words as "Hobby experts believe..."

Even earlier is a mention from a 2003 book, Genealogy and Indexing, which credited the source as a different polling company. The book's author provided the company's name and website and stated that the polling company "recently reported that genealogy is the second most popular hobby in America, right after gardening."

Well, that's one trail back to 2003--and likely earlier. But it's much easier to evaluate these recirculated advertising claims (which, essentially, is what they are) by the common sense you employed in your own assessment in today's post.