Anecdotally Speaking

Hi, P.

I need your help.  I came across the word “anecdotal” while listening to a podcast.  The sentence was like “it is just anecdotal but…”.

What does it mean and give me some sentences as examples.

Love, K

Hi K,

The word “anecdotal” has become super popular recently.  I know this because, in the past year or so, I’ve seen it pop up in a ton of  blogs and forums around the internet.

Of course, that’s just anecdotal evidence.

When a “fact” or evidence is anecdotal, that means that it is based on limited personal observation, rather than empirical fact or reliable measurements.

For example, on my train ride home tonight, I noticed that, in the part of the car I could see, 8 people were carrying iPhones, while only 1 person was using an Android-based smartphone.  Therefore, I concluded that the iPhone is outselling Android phones 8-to-1 in Japan.

Naturally, this is nonsense because.  Most opinions based on anecdotal observation are.  Heck, the diet industry is almost entirely based on anecdotal evidence.  My friend only eats ice cream and is super-skinny, therefore eating ice cream helps you lose weight, right?  Wrong.  I just have a friend with a really weird metabolism and strange eating habits.

Always remember, just because you see it, it does not mean that it is always true.  It’s just anecdotal.

Love, P


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