Twitter launched the ability to run polls recently. “Great!” I thought. This would be excellent for brands and news media to quickly get a bit of engagement, maybe use for crowd voting on an outcome, or an easy way to participate in topical subjects, live events or even TV shows.

So I gave them a whirl on my own account to see how they work.

  • So firstly you can’t use an image. Text only. Hmmmm. Also, you can only have 2 options in your poll question.
  • The poll is ‘available’ for 24 hours – no option for longer or shorter durations.
  • When people vote, you don’t get notifications. This is particularly annoying because I forgot mine was running and had no idea whether anyone had voted or not.
  • You don’t get any breakdown of who has voted like you do with other Twitter interactions as voting is anonymous. Participating in a poll doesn’t seem to trigger any activity on the timelines of those who vote so the poll is pretty much invisible to everyone other than your followers. Again – annoying.
  • Once the poll has finished, you think you’d get a Twitter notification with the results, right? Well you don’t. Once again, annoying.

Best use I’ve seen so far is this sports team using it to allow the fans to determine which player would be selected for the after match interview. This is a nice way of engaging the fans and letting them contribute to the outcome.

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So in summary, it’s early days for Twitter Polls. I think there are heaps of potential for brands to use this feature, but there need to be a few enhancements first. It’s a good start though Twitter! Great idea, looking forward to the next iteration.

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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. The other useful enhancement would be some layman’s way to describe what a valid finding is (i.e. when only a handful of people voted, but the poll reports ‘58% in favour’ that is a very misleading result to report and not at all a reliable indication of a market’s perspective!). Twitter could offer a note of caution when only a small number of people voted (out of the larger group of people existing out there in any given population – to be all techy about it!). I agree though – it has potential if used wisely and interpreted wisely

  2. Good overview thanks Simone. One thing that bugs me is the poll is often hidden in your newsfeed, you need to click on the tweet to see it. I’ve seen this result in a few odd tweets when it’s not immediately clear that it’s a poll. It’s an interesting new feature and I’m also looking forward to seeing how it develops.

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