Saturday, December 29, 2012

Survey Says, "What's So Annoying"? Whatever.

Yeah, whatever. Doesn’t that word drive you crazy? I’ve stopped using it after discovering that it is a surefire way to end a conversation. What do you say if you're on the receiving end?

It seems that my sentinments are shared by many others. According to the latest Marist Poll, “whatever” has earned the dubious distinction of being the most annoying word (or phrase) for the fourth year in a row! Close to one-third of Americans chose this word over several other annoying words, including “like” which earned irking kudos from one-fifth of respondents, “you know” at 17%, “Just sayin’” at 10% and “Twitterverse” which came in at just under 10%.

According to the Urban Dictionary, whatever is defined as:

  • Indifference to what a person is saying! Who cares!;Get a Life!
  • Used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it so the argument is over.
  • The answer to everything.
  • I don't care.
  • Word all too often used by Americans to connotate a feeling of apathy. The fact that it's used in almost every sentence is not as alarming to many as it should be.
Okay. That last definition is interesting, given the results of this survey. However, this one perhaps rings the most true:

The polite way of saying f*ck you.

And being the polite person that I am, I censored a word there. Yeah, whatever!

For my fellow market researchers: A representative U.S. sample of 1,246 adult souls were surveyed via telephone (both landline and mobile) in early December. Data was weighted using demographics from the 2010 census. And, for those of you that dig lots of data, click here for some stats. 

What’s unclear about the study? Well, first of all was this open-ended or was the respondent asked to choose one of the words/phrases in the table? And second of all, there is no mention as to whether or not the respondent was asked to choose THE most annoying word or if they could respond with more than one. Sure, the rows in the table add up to 100%; however, they could have been repercentaged. It sure would be odd for an open-ended survey to have so many people come up with “Twitterverse", no? Whatever

Now about that grand winner, “whatever”. Respondents in the 18 to 29 age group appear to be the least perturbed by this word compared to other age groups:

And, like, how interesting! College graduates are twice as likely to be annoyed by the word “like” vs. non-college graduates (30% vs. 15%). Is there an explanation for this?

Long long ago, whatever was a seen as a more favorable word and Sarah Vaughn reminded us of it and Lola’s desires in 1954. (See below). Now I’ll avoid those other words and just welcome you to stop by our website, or say hi on TwitterFacebook, or Google+