|Create Free Polls|
I am working on a screencast about widgets -- more specifically free and easy-to-use community building tools for your blog. I'm busy researching and writing the script which will cover the why, what, and examples, but now I'm in the nitty gritty stage of playing with a few widgets. (Maybe I'll go out tonight dressed up as one ... that's why I made it black and orange ...)
I ended up today at the Bamboo Project site where Michele takes us through how easy it is to set up a Vizu Poll. Since I'm using a typepad blog and Vizu is a partner, it was point and click easy. Now, don't dispair if you using another blogging platform, Vizu lets you export the code in a few ways so you can cut and paste it easily into several other popular blogging platforms, including myspace. (Apparently, polls are big on myspace ...)
I had to chuckle when I read the lastest poll on Bamboo You -- "What is the biggest time waster in your organization? No option for researching widgets. But it looks as if it is linked to this post.
The sales pitch on the vizu site says highlights these benefits:
• Add interactivity. Polls typically generate 10 to 100 times more participation than comment fields
• Learn about your visitors. Ask about profession, political persuasion, family, location, age, gender, etc.
• Learn from your visitors. Ask who, why, what, where, when, how, if...
• Build a sense of community. Polls enable self expression and self assessment.
• Engage your visitors. Poll results make for great discussion.
The question is whether widgets, used strategically, can help solicit blog audience/community feedback, add interactivity, encourage conversation, or otherwise make your blog less one-way. Can widgets help you listen better? Or are they useless foo foo. What do you think?
Well, not to bias my poll, I think they might if used strategically. You'd have to:
-Link the poll to some content or issue on your site
-Write a post that gives it context and encourages people to vote
-You'd probably want to publicize it or place it high on your sidebar on your blog and do some email or other promotion
-Encourage some commentary (e.g. comments) related to the hard numbers
-Share back the results in a useful context