10% of Brits think Steve Jobs is a trade union boss

A shocking indictment of the UK's technological ignorance? Or just a shonky PR survey...?

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Steve Jobs, the trade union boss: it might sound like a character from a special 1970s edition of Happy Families, but one in ten Britons believe the visionary Apple boss is actually something to do with the TUC, according to a new survey from Lewis PR. Now we’re extremely sceptical about surveys like this at the best of times, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were some extremely leading questions involved here. But hey, it’s a Friday afternoon – it’s hard not to laugh at the fact that 10% of Brits think a wireless dongle is a sex toy…

Jobs isn’t quite as universally venerated by the average ‘man on the street’ as he is by the tech world, if this survey is to believed: 20% of respondents had no idea who he was, while a further 5% thought he was a second division footballer (a sweeper with a cultured left foot, would be our guess).

Still, he shouldn’t be too despondent, because he’s in good company: 40% of people had never heard of internet founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee either (other suggestions included ‘Arctic explorer’ and ‘head of MI5’), while some misguided souls supposedly thought Bill Gates was one of the Great Train Robbers. Meanwhile, 11% couldn’t name a single social networking site. and 4% thought ‘phishing’ was an Eskimo angling method.

So far, so mindlessly amusing. However, Lewis doesn’t stop there – it also tries to suggest that these results reveal a ‘worrying knowledge gap’ when it comes to technology in the UK. ‘There is a digital divide in Britain between those who understand the importance of technology and those who are either not interested or frightened by it,’ the agency suggests.

Hmm. Apart from the fact that it’s a bit hard to imagine anyone being frightened by an iPhone, we suspect that’s going a bit far. After all, it might equally mean that when these 1,000 people were given a list of daft multiple-choice alternatives by a PR researcher, lots of them decided it was much funnier to suggest Bill Gates was a US stand-up comic...


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10% of Brits think Steve Jobs is a trade union boss
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