Twitter has introduced a new way for people to express their opinions — through native polling. The polling option, which is rolling out today, means that soon anyone on iOS, Android, and on Twitter.com will be able to create a poll right from the “compose box” to get feedback from the network’s 316 million monthly active users.
Last month, reports surfaced that a limited number of users had the ability to embed polls into their tweets. Twitter confirmed the reports, but declined to provide any other information. The subset of people with access to this feature included certain verified and non-verified profiles, Twitter employees, and celebrities — mostly users with large enough followings for the polling feature to make sense and who could then offer useful feedback.
However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Twitter has introduced polling. The company had previously introduced custom card polls, along with other offerings, like tallying hashtag votes, or asking followers to favorite or retweet to vote.
What makes this polling feature different is that it’ll automate the calculation of voting results. Users can create two-choice questionnaires right from within Twitter’s main apps (it doesn’t appear that TweetDeck will get this capability right away). Polls will stay open for 24 hours and the one-time-only voting is kept confidential. After the poll closes, results will be delivered to participants via push notification.
An issue that sprouted up during the “experimental” phase of Twitter polls was the fact that if a tweet with an embedded poll was displayed within a desktop service, like TweetDeck or a non-Twitter app, it wasn’t shown correctly. Instead of seeing the poll itself, viewers just saw the question. There’s a chance that this issue will persist until other Twitter clients support this feature.
As Twitter wants to be the place where conversations take place, engaging users with polls and soliciting their feedback could prove interesting and valuable. However, will it be enough to entice much-coveted new users to the social network?
Twitter polls are useful for quick feedback opportunities. If you’re a brand looking to tap into more user feedback, then it’s probably worth going after SurveyMonkey or Survmetrics. But if you want to see if people agree with you that the football play was an interception or an incomplete pass, or whether what that politician said was crazy — you can do that with Twitter polls. Entertaining? Possibly. Annoying? Good likelihood. Informative? Perhaps for some.
Polling will roll out to users over the next few days. To verify whether you have this capability, look for a poll icon to appear in the tweet compose box.