Since it launched a little over a year ago, Instagram Stories has been useful for showing your friends what you're up to — singing along at Solange's concert, waiting in line for doughnuts, about to get a piercing — but not so much when it comes to getting their opinions on things.
Yes, you could always type out a question and leave it up to your DMs to take the hit, but in my experience this never worked all that well. Usually, only my closest friends would take the time to reply, and among those who did, it was time consuming to go through their responses and reach a consensus. This is the problem Instagram is hoping to simplify with its newest feature: Poll Stickers, an interactive way to poll your friends about everything from what you should dress up as for Halloween to which Netflix Original you should watch next.
Start by taking a photo or video within Stories. Then, type out your question to friends using the text tool. Finally, tap the sticker icon on the upper toolbar. To the right of the hashtag sticker you'll see a new sticker, Poll. Press that, and you'll have the option to write the two answers that viewers can choose from when answering your question. Once your post your Story, you'll start getting real-time voting results for 24 hours (the lifespan of any Story post).
Anyone who answers your poll will see which choice is winning after they vote. If you want a more complete breakdown, showing how each of your friends voted, swipe up on your Story in the same way you would to see who viewed a post.
Although a two-choice poll might feel limiting, you can get creative. Your query can be something with a simple yes or no answer (should I get bangs?) or something requiring you to write more detailed answers (what should I do this weekend?). Viewers won't be able to write in their own answer — they can only choose from the two options you provide — but they can always DM you if they want to weigh in further.
It will be interesting to see what kinds of questions people pose to their followers. After all, people can get creative when new features roll out (take iOS 11's echo effect as evidence). Personally, I'm expecting to see a mix. Some users might ask for helping with everyday decision making (why not use your followers as your personal stylists in the morning?), while others might pose more serious political questions to find out whether friends support certain public policies or who they're voting for in the next election.
Be cautious if you choose to go the serious route: Since you can see who votes for which answer, questions have the potential to create divisions between you and your closest friends. Poll Stickers can be perfectly harmless during Oscar season (which of these two top contenders should win Best Picture?) but far more heated during a high-stakes election.
It’s also worth noting that Instagram’s internal moderators will likely need to keep a close eye on the new stickers. If someone chooses to pose questions about certain issues, the question or the options they offer viewers could easily violate Instagram’s community standards. For example, Instagram bans posts that support or praise terrorism and hate groups.
The new tool rolls out to all Instagram users today.
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