Thank you all for the feedback we have received with our new poll look and feel. Overall we have had very positive feedback. The key objective was to make sure you poll stood out on your website and to ensure you had the maximum engagement with your visitors. The element where we focused on was the poll’s borders and we put a lot of our graphical expertise to come up with this new skin!.
We are planning to roll out a couple of Micropoll apis within a month. The key api which we want to roll out is the Vote api – which we think is going to be the coolest one.
Why APIs ?
Before I get into the why, for those who don’t know let me quickly explain what an API is, API stands for Application Programming Interface. Basically an API is a way for other people to write code to access your application or your website.
The funny thing is that when I explain this to people they tend to immediately ask me: “Why would I want that??”. Well, let us start with a small website that exploded in popularity almost overnight: Twitter.
The main thing – and to me, the most powerful – is that your customers may want to interact with you in ways that you’d never thought of. It’s fairly unlikely that we have realized all possible ways that the customers want to use Micropoll’s powerful polling engine.
Stay tuned folks – we are releasing some free apis very soon.. Hopefully we don’t give you too much control that we shut it down .
We are happy to introduce a new feature in Micropoll – Customized Preview Pages. The new menu items on your left will include the ‘Edit Preview Page’ which will lead to the page where you can change your Preview page skins. This is the page where your community interacts using the Facebook comments plugin. At this point, we have six great looking skins to help you catch the attention of your pollers. Happy Polling! - click on the image above to get a larger view of how this looks like.
Unlike everyone else, we decided to post our ‘Top’ collection on New Year’s day. We have reviewed our last year’s posts and put them here.
As we look back in 2010, we have noticed that one of the biggest impacts to polling participation has been the influence of social media. Facebook and twitter has led to more participation in polls. Companies are using polls to quickly get feedback from their online visitors. We will see these trends to continue upwards in 2011.
I do not know how I missed this article on TreeHugger which mentioned an
interesting turn of events. Basically, the tale begins more than a month ago, when the well-known pop science publication Scientific American launched an online poll asking its readership various questions about climate change and related policy issues. As so often happens when well-known publications publish online polls on controversial topics, less-known ones took the opportunity to skew the results.
Long story short, the poll got hijacked. To the query “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [the nonpartisan international group that helps synthesize climate science] is …” the majority of respondents said it’s “A corrupt organization, prone to group think, with a political agenda.”
And lo behold, at a congressional hearing, Patrick Michaels, a leading climate skeptic and member of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, presented testimony. Among the evidence for his recommendation that Congress ignore the threat of climate change? Not one, but two of the results from the Scientific American poll.
A poll conducted by market research firm Penn Schoen Berland, asked regular viewers of late-night TV about themselves and their habits. I consolidated the results into a table to see what interesting traits you can see among audiences. I don’t watch late night shows and wanted to know where I would fit in, in the event that I wanted to be a late night show watcher.
The poll also found that if all late-night shows aired at the same time, 23 percent of respondents would watch Leno, 15 percent Letterman, 11 percent O’Brien, 10 percent Stewart, 10 percent George Lopez and 8 percent Craig Ferguson. Only 3 percent said they would watch Jimmy Kimmel. Look’s like Jummy needs to get his act together, literally !.
Most Politicians will tell you they do not take notice of polls that go on at all times of the year. But the truth of the matter is that polls are so integrated into the public sphere that to ignore them totally would be almost politically fatal, and to pretend to is to insult the public intelligence.
Polling goes back as far as 1824 when two newspapers conducted a poll to determine the preferred US presidential candidate, they have been a part of the fabric of life since then. And not only for US citizens but across the whole world, when Barak Obama was running for office, polls were conducted from Japan to Kenya, China to Australia; we were all exposed to it.
But just how significant and truthful for that matter, are these polls?
More often than not, you will not be told how these polls were conducted unless they were carried out by professional organizations such as Gallup. And we all know the temptation to be biased when conducting your own little mini election. Add to this the fact that most polls hardly cover a decent percentage or the right representation of members of the public. Polls turns out to be one of the ways the media tries to add some legitimacy to their news.
We all know the signs; ask yourself how many times your opinion has been sought before you saw the results on the news.
What we have seen is that once a poll is created, it’s usually put in a prominent place on our customer’s website. The reasoning is quite simple – the intention is to get as many pollers to participate. Even if this leads to higher polling participation, the results might be distorted.
There are many ways ‘Power Imbalances’ can result in skewed polling results :
1. Minimize Poll Creator Bias. If you were biased towards a certain polling option, you would put the polling option as the first option within the poll and usually seed the data accordingly. When the poll creator seeds a lot, power imbalances in your results will be more marked.
2. Do not make discriminatory references. Polling with questions directly or indirectly making references to special privileges, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, education, religion, health status and employment will encourage polls trending towards a power imbalance.
3. Provide the right context. Not providing the right context to your poll can lead in power imbalances. If your pollers came from a search engine with certain keywords, they are usually on your web page looking for something. If they happened to land on your poll and there was not enough context to the question you were asking, the search keywords could be the context they are using to complete your poll. So search optimization on the wrong keywords or not providing the right context to your poll could cause different polling results.
4. Monitor your network. Marketing savvy pollers can cause power imbalances. We have a feature where we let a poller share their poll with other people. If the people they share the poll with, also happens to be ‘thinking’ or ‘influenced’ by the person who shared the polls, then again a power imbalance has occured. This also applies to viral surveys.
About the author: Anup Surendran is the product manager for Micropoll. He has consulted for various technology startups in his career servicing Fortune 50 companies. He works out of Toronto, Canada and blogs frequently on his personal blog.
Canadians are a little different. I am currently one of them. I guess we are different in a nice way. Asked in a recent poll commissioned by the Historica-Dominion Institute to name famous Canucks, past or present, who we would most like to invite over for the ideal Canada Day backyard bash, Canadians picked Fox and Wayne Gretzky over a long list of celebrities and historical figures.
From a list of 30 Canadians, Terry Fox – the amputee hero who died in 1981 before completing his epic cross-country run for cancer research – emerged as the most popular dream guest, with 38 per cent of respondents choosing him. Read more about this here.
This selection of who Canadians want to spend their time with on a holiday shows a common trend among North Americans. A lot of us are beginning to accept that people who have brought value to others either through their personal sacrifice or their determined efforts are ‘celebrities’ in their own right. Spending your time with these ‘celebreties’ (only if they were all alive) might be a good thing for your soul after all!