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#Twitter #Polls - Worthy Addition or Useless Appendage?

The Mirror
Polls seem to be everywhere online these days, from blogs to social media platforms to entire sites uniformly dedicated to them. Twitter have now decided that they want a slice of the pie chart, and have introduced a polling feature of their own to a limited testing pool of users. They are completely custom, you can write anything as the framing question and the answer options can be anything, but you only get two at the moment. The real question is, is this something Twitter really needed?


Some have argued that Twitter is a breeding ground for free-flowing thought, something which polls kind of devalue, since they're so limited. Much like the 'like' button, polling encourages people to express views simply by pressing a button, rather than openly communicating. It does have certain advantages, journalistic websites, rather than outfitting their own dedicated polling tool, can just borrow Twitter's and with a presidential election on the horizon there's plenty of scope for things to ask, company Twitter pages will also likely eat it up, but what about the rest of us?

If it's just a sometime thing, a little extra feature that gets rolled out by the odd user every once in a while, it shouldn't upset the balance on the site too drastically. If it gets really popular, to the point at which every other tweet on your feed is a poll, ruh-roh. It's worth mentioning that some Twitter users did already make polls, you just had to either 'Like' or 'Retweet' to pick an option. Said polls are also almost entirely stupid wastes of time, it doesn't bode well. Things like this put social media platforms in danger of stagnating, take a look at what Yahoo have done to Tumblr if you don't believe me, or just remember that MySpace starting dying out not long after adding its own polling widget.


The fact of the matter is that Twitter's priorities really ought to be elsewhere. They're already under an immense amount of pressure to find a new CEO and while that's going on, they're falling behind with a lot of the place put in place under Costolo. Project Lightning was, at one point, the front-line of the curated content revolution, but now Facebook, Snapchat and others have all released their version and Twitter are eating massive fistfuls of their dust. Being able to ask your followers whether they prefer cake or pie isn't going to help anyone forget that.

On the positive side, helping with brand engagement is only going to strengthen Twitter's bonds with advertisers, which will give them more financial scope to improve the Twitter experience in bigger, better ways. A lot will depend on how they opt to promote it once it comes out proper, and assuming it is here to stay, widening its capability. Two options and a fixed lifespan of 24 hours just isn't good enough, if you're going to introduce something to Twitter which is already limited by its very nature, don't limit it further still.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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#Twitter #Polls - Worthy Addition or Useless Appendage? Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, October 04, 2015 Rating: 5

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