Does this make me look fat? Steak or seafood for dinner? Is this appropriate for a first date?
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Life is full of them. Some are big, some are easy and some are more pressing than others.
Many times feedback is hard to swallow, but with the increasingly accepted compulsion to document every detail of our lives and share them online, there’s something incredibly addictive about real-time polling and the instant gratification that comes from the approval of strangers. So much so, that there are a number of start-ups that help users with feedback that go well beyond Instagram hearts, Facebook’s "like" button and Twitter stars.
Mobile Q&A start-ups Imagoo, Blurtopia, Seesaw and Thumb solicit instant answers through the use of photos. PopTip, is another start-up that offers instant polling on Facebook and Twitter, and already has Pepsi, EA Sports and journalists such as ESPN’s Darren Rovell crowd-sourcing feedback for its brands.
Although these apps may not be the answer to all of life’s burning questions, they can help you quickly solicit feedback on a range of topics including, the “Should I buy this?” ”What to eat?” and “Where to vacation?”
Thumb: The New York-based mobile start-up makes it easy for users to ask and share opinions on iOS and Android (free) devices by posing a question, or expressing a sentiment and getting feedback via a thumbs-up or thumbs-down as well as comments. Users upload a picture of whatever they would like to get a response to and then ask the masses to cast their votes.
Users can save opinions to their profile, and place questions into specific categories, such as “Places & Travel,” or “Relationships,” and responses can be further narrowed down based on age group, gender, or your Thumb friends and the contacts on your phone.
Although the company’s branding message is all about “getting and giving opinions,” it’s more of a full-fledged social network for opinions. Thumb has a full-blown messaging system that allows direct messaging between users. The app is highly addictive because of its speed and ability to generate a lot of user engagement.
Imagoo: This start-up's free iOS app is most helpful for people who are indecisive. Say you are out shopping and can’t decide which shirt to buy, the Las Vegas based tech start-up allows users, including brands and businesses, to poll two items at once by snapping two separate pictures to compare and vote in real time.
Imagoo goes beyond the typical social polling features and enables users to issue “challenges,” in which users can go head-to-head against their friends or other users on the network. For example you can challenge someone to see who has the nicer car, house or watch. The result is a real-time poll pushed to the imagoo community in which anyone can vote to determine the winner.
Some other useful tools on this app include its social media integration, which helps users solicit their friends’ opinions by allowing to access Facebook and Twitter. Essentially, imagoo is like the modern-day version of the famous 90s-era Hot or Not game. What sets this app apart from the rest is it's “challenges” component.
Poptip: This New York firm's Web-based service turns your Twitter account into a power-polling machine. Through its dashboard, which tracks your questions, users can post a question to Twitter or Facebook -- or both simultaneously -- and get results in real time. For example, I crowd-sourced feedback from my Twitter followers about who they want to win the NBA finals. Algorithms then analyze information like a user’s follower count and the length of their response, which are then placed in a grid.
The interface keeps things neat and clear, segmenting user questions, with options to include @ replies and hashtag indicators. Poptip also allows users to take misspellings or similar answers into account and add them to the correct pot.
At times Poptip can be overwhelming with its flood of content or it takes a few hours for results to roll in before you get any kind of answer. For example, I posted a question on “Which video app is better, Vine or Instagram?” and received two interactions after three hours. Although there are other Twitter analytics tools out there, like TweetStats and Foller.me, they don’t specifically pinpoint the Q&A on Twitter like Poptip.
While it’s a fun tool, it’s clearly geared for companies to target brands for customer engagement purposes, given that they can post promotional video along with their question. Poptip charges $1,000 a month per handle, and that includes a Facebook connection through a Twitter handle.
Seesaw: The idea behind this company's free iOS app is that users can share photos of their choices through text messages, Twitter, or Facebook and have friends share their opinions. Once a poll has been created, user’s vote and those results and opinions will be displayed instantly.
While most of the other apps focus on feedback from strangers, Seesaw is more focused on its ability to survey friends about simple decisions. That's in part because Seesaw’s social network is based on users’ mobile phone contacts.
My first Seesaw question addressed whether or not yoga pants are appropriate on a first date. Not surprisingly, 60% of strangers on the app said no. But my query didn’t say that I was going hiking. Unfortunately, none of my friends have the app, so I didn’t receive much useful feedback.
Blurtopia: San Diego-based Blurtopia's free iOS app is designed to help users make “life decisions” by giving three ways to ask the opinions of other users via “blurts.” The options are thumbs up or down, rate something on a scale of one to five, and “this or that.”
Answering Blurts is easy and addictive. It also helps that the app's interface is sleek, well designed and brightly colored, with pie charts illustrating your feedback. The best part is that the app's tagging system allows people to form groups with their friends and propose blurts to them. You can browse Blurts from your friends or all Blurtopians by newest or most popular. If you are looking for opinions from your friends rather than the masses, Blurtopia is an option.