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Survey outs Britain as nation of tech twits

Steve Jobs? Y'mean the footballer?

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One in 20 Britons think Steve Jobs is a Division II footballer, six per cent think a virtual hard disk (VHD) is a sexually transmitted disease, and 10 per cent believe a wireless dongle to be a sex toy.

Perhaps that last bit is true in a pinch, but it's hard to fathom how Apple's CEO could be mistaken for the redoubtable Steve Death, the late Reading keeper.

These surprising insights into the scope of British tech smarts come from a survey recently conducted by Lewis PR of 1,000 Britons that was intended, as the company put it, "to gauge the nation's level of technology knowledge."

If their goal was to prove that companies need their public-relations expertise to upgrade the tech knowledge of the hoi polloi, Lewis PR has succeeded.

Among the other findings in the survey:

  • Nine per cent of respondents believe Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the head of MI5.
  • Another five per cent identified Sir Tim as the first British astronaut in space.
  • Six per cent think phishing is "an angling method used by Eskimos."
  • Six per cent believe SaaS (software as a service) was an '80s pop band.
  • Eleven per cent couldn't name a single social-networking website.
  • Three per cent identified Bill Gates as an American comedian.

Lewis PR's digital PR director Eb Adeyeri attempted to put a serious face on these risible results: "Technology and the Internet is playing an increasingly dominant role in our lives but it is still striking how little is known about some of its key figures, gadgets and aspects."

On second thought, however, an argument could be made that those last three per cent were onto something. ®

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