140 characters and an opinion: Twitter launches in-Tweet polls

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Gauging audience reaction and opinion on beleaguered social network Twitter has always been something of a science. Journals are filled with academic research on sentiment analysis and algorithms for parsing Tweets en masse to see what people think. Business models are built on unlocking the secrets of what the Twitter audience thinks of a brand – and today all that work is undone in one simple step.

Twitter is introducing polls.

While voting on Twitter could be accomplished before – by tracking replies, hashtags, favourites and retweets, it was a scattered affair that was nonetheless implemented by many. An example is one of the official accounts for Star Wars tracking the number of favourites compared to reTweets to create an impromptu poll.

This method would then require a real person or an automated process to get an accurate result. Now Twitter Polls is going to take the hassle out of it.

The first itteration of the process will allow users to create 9and vote on) a poll which has two possible options and will be live fro 24 hours. Any poll can be voted on, but how you voted will not be public.

From the screenshots below, it looks like creating a poll will be extremely easy, and require only slightly more effort when compared to a simple Tweet.

(Left) creating a poll and (right) the results.

Twitter Polls will be available on iOS, Android, and twitter.com “over the next few days”. When the option is available, a new icon will be present in the regular compose Tweet box.

There’s no word yet as to how this function will work in conjunction with the 140 character limit. Taking a guess from the poll present in the example screenshot (which sits at roughly 110 characters, including the response options), the entire poll may be limited to 140, which may explain the rather limiting two-choice option.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.