The Simple Joy of Surveys

For those who wish to change the world

Catherine Bell
4 min readAug 11, 2021
Image by: Bairachnyi via Canva (edited)

There is a certain, simple pleasure to be had from taking part in an online survey. The rhythmic click, click, click of yes, no, yes, no, no, yes, and the sweet anticipation of whether your chosen answer will reveal an additional question ripe for the response.

They go beyond the tick box exercise of providing opinions, and when you look a little deeper you can appreciate the knowledge that perhaps somewhere out there, in the online ether, someone shares exactly the same opinions as you and that maybe even, through those very same opinions, you are playing a vital role in shaping the future!

The best surveys are shared on LinkedIn by harried research students, hoping to prove a theory and ace their Master's degree. They’ve left their research to the last minute and, in a final cry of desperation, they have meekly shared their survey with an apologetic caption:

“I’m doing a research project as part of my masters (HELP!), and I would be (SUPER) appreciative if you could maybe find half a minute to take part in this survey. It will only take a second. Please. (Read: I need to graduate, lol).

But again, only if you have time. So sorry for bothering you all!!

And if you could please, maybe, share with your network too? And, uh, like this post, that would be great.

So sorry for bothering you again! And no worries if you don’t have time. Thanks.”

My heart aches with empathy for these students. While introverts tend to do well at academics, the prospect of publicly asking for help is an absolute nightmare.

LinkedIn, however, provides the perfect platform. Lowly introverts know there will be a certain level of anonymity among the survey takers. They will be a connection of a connection. Or better yet, a connection of a connection of a connection.

This is generally how their post appears in my feed.

Super! I think. An opportunity to productively procrastinate. I may not be getting my work done, but I’m getting someone’s work done.

The next best is the conscientious young entrepreneurs. They are sixteen, and their business, dreamt up at their kitchen table, and birthed in their bedroom, is about to take off. Their confidence is unnerving. Despite having never met them, you owe them a favor. They are the antithesis of apologetic. Their posts ooze charisma:

“It’s time for YOU to take a survey!

Yes, YOUR OPINION MATTERS, and we NEED to hear it.

In the past six months, my company has grown from a bedroom business to a six-figure company, and now it’s time for YOU to be the next part of its growth.

Let us know what the ultimate fitness/wellness/performance-enhancing/habit-building app means to you by completing our survey.

Your opinions will shape the course of our business growth and become the heart of our ethos.”

You thank them for taking part. They don’t thank you.

How exciting! I think. I’m going to play a key role in this company’s growth. Amazing!

For me, the true magic of it all is that taking a survey transports you.

You are obliged to focus. Your brain tunes out your surroundings. You have given your commitment to the cause, and you will be the best survey taker that ever there was.

Your answers are powerful. They will undoubtedly shape the future. The researcher, desperately hoping that more than ten people will take their survey, will surely go on to become the next Bill Gates. He will be an agent of change in the world all because you, yes YOU, ordered your preference of social media sites from one to seven.

On the other hand, the entrepreneur will make millions. He will invest a handful of his millions back into developing countries, providing medicine to children in third world countries. By association, you are basically a philanthropist!

Then, once you click that final submit button, you can return to the present. Smug, delighted at your selfless contribution to the global community. You have given yourself a well-deserved brain break, and you are ready to tackle that work you’ve been avoiding.

Never taken an online survey? You should try it some time. Just make sure to find the underdog who truly values your opinion. Yes, YOUR opinion. It matters. It really does.

Consumer satisfaction, corporate surveys, or the employee survey that’s due next week that your boss keeps reminding you that you haven’t taken yet are absolutely not included. They simply do not bring joy. FACT.



Catherine Bell

Irish native. Current student teacher with a past passion for marketing and PR. Once upon a time actor/theatre maker. Continuous lover of creative pursuits.