A "coupons website" called Vouchercloud.net polled 2,392 Americans surprisingly aged 18 and older about the meanings of popular technology-related terms, with expectedly hilarious results for small-but-not-insignificant swaths of the American public.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the survey respondents "were presented with both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions." Therefore, they were not really aware that the terms being suggested were technology-related. It's a pretty good set up for a pretty funny joke.
As my click-generating headline has already told you, 11% of Americans think HTML is a sexually transmitted disease, while another 15% thought software was "comfortable clothing." Get it? Something you wear that is soft. How adorable is that?
Another 27% thought a "gigabyte" was "an insect commonly found in South America," while 42% guessed that a "motherboard" was "the deck of a cruise ship," according to the LA Times.
Twenty-three percent thought MP3 was a robot from Star Wars, which means they clearly confused the audio file format with C-3PO, the humanoid robot and best friend of R2D2.
Blu-ray was identified as a marine animal by 18% of those surveyed, while another 12% thought USB was "an acronym for a European country."
Seventy-seven respondents "could not identify what SEO means," which, as a web journalist, is simultaneously comforting and dismaying. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of gaming search engines to promote web content to the highest-possible results for related terms. So the fact that most of these every-day types surveyed don't know what it is means both that it's not really that important to them and that SEO is working exactly as it was intended. I'm still processing this.
I'm particularly interested in the demographics of the people surveyed, because I'm sure surveying the same number of people in Silicon Valley would fail to return such a satisfying payoff. But either way, it's worth a laugh, unless you're one of those people unfortunate enough to come down with HTML, or worse, HTML5.