Twitter introduces poll feature – but is it a) good or b) bad?

Twitter in browser

Twitter has introduced the ability for some users to create polls within its mobile app and desktop site during a significant feature trial.

The polling feature, which takes the form of a two-option choice, has been rolled out to Twitter staffers and certain – but not all – verified accounts.

The feature works natively and is embedded into the tweet itself. It is not compatible with third-party apps or clients such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Twitter has released a standard statement confirming the experiment but not elaborating on whether polls will be introduced for all users or permanently.

All users can participate in a poll, but just a few can create them. At the moment, it appears the polls have a lifespan of 24 hours, and tweeters are informed of how long is left to vote, and how many people have voted – as well as the results in percentage.

For those who have access to the feature, a poll can be created by clicking on a small piechart in the right hand corner when drafting a tweet.

So far, reaction has been mostly positive, and the polls have proved to be good for brand engagement and follower interaction with many people participating and a high level of retweets.

Questions have ranged from the practical to the banal to the meta to the absurd:

The complaints about polls so far focus on the lack of third-party integration and the rather more pressing concern that in timelines and embedded tweets (see above) polls only show up as a text question without the interactive element. In a situation as with the last tweet embeddedabove, this can even render the tweet nonsensical. Here’s how that tweet looks on the Twitter mobile and desktop apps:

Twitter poll app

However, given that the feature is on trial, it is to be expected that these issues would be ironed out if given a full release.

Perhaps the most important impact Twitter polls will have is as follows:

This isn’t the first time Twitter has experimented with polls. In 2014, users were given the chance to vote on Oscars favourites via a poll provided by Poptip, but that function was only available on the mobile app. Twitter’s own @support account has also utilised polls to receive user feedback before now.

The new feature could really boost engagement, and fits with the online media trend of publications offering readers’ polls. It could even be used to gauge public opinion on certain issues, whether that be politics or entertainment events, such as reality TV shows or, as already mentioned, the Oscars.

Some, however, have posited that a proliferation of polls could become annoying. So, what do you make of the Twitter’s polls? Do you:

a) Like them?

b) Think they’re a waste of time?

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Hannah Jane Parkinson, for theguardian.com on Friday 25th September 2015 15.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010