When an Ivy League university releases a study suggesting that the social network you work for will lose 80 percent of its user base between 2015 and 2017, even going as far as to compare your company to an infectious disease, there is only one way to respond — with humor.
Facebook Data Scientist Mike Develin responded to the Princeton University study that made waves earlier this week with a note on his Facebook page, appropriately titled “Debunking Princeton,” in which he stated a case for the school having no students at all by 2021 — all in fun, naturally.
The tongue-in-cheek “research” by Develin, Lada Adamic, and Sean Taylor used the “correlation equals causation” scientific principle and conducted searches on Google Scholar for mentions of Princeton in “scholarly articles of great scholarliness,” and the social network’s trio also examined the “strong correlation between the undergraduate enrollment of an institution and its Google Trends index,” concluding:
This trend suggests that Princeton will have only one-half of its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021, it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth.
While we are concerned for Princeton University, we are even more concerned about the fate of the planet — Google Trends for “air” have also been declining steadily, and our projections show that by the year 2060, there will be no air left.
But has anyone correlated the “research” by Develin, Adamic, and Taylor?
Although this research has not yet been peer-reviewed, every like for this post counts as a peer review. Start reviewing!
And in case anyone thought this “research” was serious, Develin concluded his note with the following disclaimer:
P.S. We don’t really think Princeton or the world’s air supply is going anywhere soon. We love Princeton (and air). As data scientists, we wanted to give a fun reminder that not all research is created equal — and some methods of analysis lead to pretty crazy conclusions.
Readers: What did you think of “Debunking Princeton?”
Empty classroom image courtesy of Shutterstock.