Twitter is testing out a new feature: allowing users to embed polls into tweets. Twitter employees and those with verified accounts–Twitter users marked with those fancy blue checkmarks–are now able to embed simple two-question polls into their messages. It appears to be still under development, and is currently only available to select users.
The Guardian reports that users can see poll results in percentage points, along with how much time is left before the poll closes. Polls and surveys have obvious resonance to brands and other commercial entities on Twitter, who already use the service for informal market research and could potentially survey a wider audience with Twitter’s new tool. (Facebook also has a similar tool for native polling.)
But polling functionality appears to be part of ongoing changes at Twitter that are moving the service farther and farther away from its core product of broadcasting information in short messages. Earlier this year, Twitter announced Project Lightning, a tool that will make it easy to follow live events; the company also expanded the length of its direct messaging feature past 140 characters.
Twitter, a public corporation, is under heavy pressure from shareholders to turn a profit. While seemingly ubiquitous, it primarily serves a small core of highly engaged users surrounded by a much larger layer of occasional users–who in turn are surrounded by a huge number of one- or- two-time users who have given Twitter a shot but were turned off by one aspect or another. This is a monetization problem for Twitter, whose response, it seems, is to gradually morph into Facebook.
[via The Guardian]