We love following the Urtak questions people have been sharing to Twitter since we released the feature last week. Here are some favorites:
Did we mention that Twitter sharing works in Spanish too?
Every Urtak widget—new and old—has the new sharing feature so you can share any Urtak question ever asked. What are your favorite Urtak questions?
When Facebook sneezes, the world catches a cold. With close to a billion users, the social network’s minor tweaks to its service are amplified, people take notice, and it becomes news.The upcoming release of Facebook Timeline, a new way to display user profiles, is no
exception. What do people think about the change? Mashable, the world’s largest tech blog, used Urtak to find out.
22 questions were asked, 13,000 responses were contributed (compared to 16 comments).
What did they learn? Here are some key findings:
46% believe that everyone will love Timeline in 6 months.
69% have been on Facebook for more than 4 years.
83% use Facebook every day.
58% believe that the people who complain the most about Facebook are those who use it most.
61% of respondents say they are Twitter users also.
And interestingly enough, the Twitter users are twice as likely to like stalking people on Facebook.
To learn more, check out the full results, here.
CBC’s 8th Fire is a series that examines the complex, 500 year-old relationship between Canadians of European origin and Canada’s indigenous peoples. In addition to the series, CBC has built an excellent website. The site contains extensive information about the Aboriginal peoples, the history of the relationship, the making of the series, as well as interviews and community places.
CBC is using Urtak on the 8th Fire homepage to capture opinions on important subjects and questions that arise from the documentary. The 8th Fire fan base has contributed opinions on subjects from indigenous education to governance of the indigenous people and their land.
Here are some interesting findings from the results thus far:
72% believe the Indian Act should be scrapped.
87% believe there should be self-governance in First Nations.
96% believe there should be a bigger focus on Canadian Indigenous history taught in grade schools.
75% believe there should be a minimum quota for Aboriginal MPs in the House of Commons.
74% believe there should be an urban reserve in every Canadian city.
Fascinating results. As we learn more about just who precisely is answering these questions, the use of the cross tab tool to dig deeper should provide even greater insights.
We’re excited to announce the addition of Twitter sharing in the Urtak widget! The Twitter button is now on every results card making it easy to share interesting questions and results with friends in your networks.
Click the Twitter icon on bottom left of the results card and a pop-up window will appear.
You can edit the copy to your liking—or just click Tweet to spread the word!
There are no extra steps if you’re the publisher of an Urtak. Continue using Urtak as you normally would and let your community share insights and interesting questions from your site.
**Stay tuned for sharing via Facebook, which we will be rolling out in the coming weeks!**
Did you know that you can discover interesting and unexpected insights by comparing how people answer two different Urtak questions? Our cross tabulation feature makes it easy to compare the results of one question to another. You can choose two specific questions, or use the random button to uncover surprising results.
Using cross tabulation is easy. In the Results of an Urtak, select a question and then click the cross tabulation icon in the top right of the question card.
At this point, you can either choose a question or click random to let the system pick one for you.
The final results of the cross tabulation reveal if the way people answer one question has a significant impact on how they answer a second question. For example, consider two questions from Andrew Sullivan’s Urtak ‘Dish Readers: Who Are You?’
1. Are you a citizen of the United States of America?
2. Do you have a graduate degree?
Cross tabulation reveals that amongst his readers non-US citizens are about 1.2 times more likely to have graduate degrees than US citizens.
Try out the cross tabulation feature using any Urtak’s results to discover what you can find out!
In December I held a QuirksMode reader survey on Urtak. It had 69 questions, and about 55,000 answers were given by about 1,100 respondents. Here’s a partial summary of the findings.
“Do you think everyone, in one form or another, has cheated in their lives?”
94% said YES
via The Toilet Paper, 1/6/12
James Poulos of The Daily Caller argues that Rick Santorum is the Zombie George W. Bush, “reintroducing the painful Bush-era problems Republicans must now confront and resolve [ED - lack of brains!].”
What kind of Zombie would President Obama be? Ask and answer!Zombie candidates
MG Siegler, investor and TechCrunch columnist, seems to have upset a lot of people. How? Simple, he told his readers that they wouldn’t be able to comment on his blog.
Siegler’s argument is that 99.9% of comments are bile. They detract from the experience of consuming his content. Further, anyone who wishes to respond to one of his posts should do so on their own properties, he argues.
Fred Wilson, the famous VC, tweeted his disagreement, “you are missing out on a rich experience by dissing comments, commenters, and the dialog that results.”
Tech luminaries like Mathew Ingram of GigaOm (“A blog without comments is a soap-box, plain and simple.”) and Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb (“Comments are little tendrils of thought, structured and online. There’s no way that’s worthless.”) also weighed in defense of the right to troll.
A wise man (with a giant content empire) once told me that comments are three things. One, a way for publishers to engage their audience. Two, a hangout for readers. And three, a huge headache.
Comments sections can be an excellent way to build community, as any reader of Fred Wilson’s blog knows. But as a tool for engagement, they are extremely inefficient. Less than 1% of an audience will leave a comment on a post. And as Siegler writes, and no one disputes, they are indeed a headache that any established writer can do without.
It all comes down to picking the right tool for the job. If you want to engage an audience, we at Urtak can recommend an alternative for you. If you want to find out what people think, we believe that you should let them ask questions, rather than encouraging declarations.
So is MG Siegler really missing out on a rich experience by doing without comments?
One thing to bear in mind as you consider the question. If people had been able to comment on his post, would it have caused such a stir? Would so many articles on other sites have been written?
Inspired by the example of The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, who earlier this week used Urtak to conduct a kind of reader census, The Blaze set up one of their own.
Sullivan generated 1.4 million responses over the course of the week, but The Blaze seems to be moving even quicker. They’ve reached the total of 1 million responses in under ten hours.
This incredible adoption of Urtak means that we are on track to pass 20 million responses by the end of the year. As a reminder, we got to 10 million responses in March, 5 million in April of last year, and 3 million in August 2009.
2012. The year of Urtak!
Over the past two days we’ve received an extraordinary amount of traffic. Thanks for participating!
Unfortunately, our indexing system is having trouble keeping up with the backlog of jobs being created. What this means is that the Urtak dashboard is having trouble displaying information in the immediate fashion that we are all used to. Rest assured, your data is safe, and will be presented to you as soon as the system catches up.
A fix is scheduled for deployment this afternoon.
Thanks again for your questions and answers.
The Dish, Andrew Sullivan’s blog on The Daily Beast, has since yesterday been creating the fastest growing Urtak ever. At the time of writing, more than 900,000 responses have been collected to 59 questions. It’s an unbelievable source of data about his readers.
Using Urtak’s cross-tabulation tool, we did some investigating, and thought that we would share these interesting findings. Without further ado, five things we learned about Andrew Sullivan’s audience.His readers under the age of 35 are less likely to have cried in response to a Dish post. Cold-hearted youth! His married readers would be less interested in attending an annual conference of Dish readers. His Jewish readers are almost three times more likely than their gentile counterparts to have attended Ivy League colleges. His Republican-voting readers are more likely to have emailed him. And his gun-owning readers are more likely to make more than $100,000/year.
Explore the results, and draw your own conclusions!
We started Urtak with the goal of democratizing public opinion research. What did we mean by this word, “democratizing?”
We meant that people should not only have access to opinion information, but that they should actively engage in its creation.
We meant that the right to ask questions should belong to everyone, not just those with money to squander.
We meant that everyone should have access to the results of the research process, so that everyone might be able draw their own conclusions.
An experiment like today’s post by Andrew Sullivan, trying to find out who his readers are, demonstrates the unquestionable power of the democratic approach.
Sullivan, with no research budget at his disposal, collects hundreds of thousands of responses to his questions in an afternoon. His readers spark a creative explosion, asking hundreds of questions of their own. And the results are permanently available for all to make use of.
If the current model of research is so powerful, why do rich candidates lose elections? Why do expensively marketed products flop?
The answer lies in the words of CLR James, who five decades ago wrote that, “A sample poll can only investigate what the pollsters know, and it cannot even do that properly.” The top-down model, dominant for 75 years, can never reveal something that its conductors do not already know.
If you want to find out what people are thinking, you must let them ask questions.
Seneca, the Roman stoic, tells us that “If you do not know to which port you are sailing, no wind helps.” After 72,800 questions, and 17.4 million responses, we declare without hesitation:
“Urtak works toward a new model for public opinion research – A democratic model!”
For a century and a half, The Cooper Union, located in New York City’s East Village, has been providing talented students in art, architecture, and engineering with an excellent college education, free of charge. It is an institution that contributes to the greatness of the United States.
Today, the Cooper Union community is in turmoil. Despite a widespread belief that the school’s finances are in order, stated as recently as 2008 by The New York Times, it is in fact running an annual deficit of 16.3 million dollars. The school’s endowment is being worn down, and at this rate, Cooper Union will close within three years.
To solve the problem Cooper’s administration and board of trustees propose the possibility of tuition. But the students, faculty and alumni oppose such an option, arguing that the idea of a free education must not be compromised.
The opposition effort has a strong online presence, on Facebook, Twitter, Urtak and a new website started by a Cooper student, Free as Air and Water. In addition, there have been many meetings, open forums, and last Wednesday the students held a walkout in order to reaffirm their belief in a tuition-free Cooper Union.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Peter Cooper, the founder and benefactor of the Union, argued that a high-quality education should be “free as air and water.” This feeling is the basis of the current protest, and has also inspired us to create this infographic, made from a selection of questions from the Cooper Union Urtak.
“Beginning from one simple demand—a presidential commission to separate money from politics—we start setting the agenda for a new America.” — Adbusters
This single demand has given rise to the Occupy Movement. The movement has grown incredibly and become global since the first protest took place in New York City on the 17th of September. Over 900 cities across the United States and the world have been stormed by protesters crying out against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corruption, and capital’s influence over government.
Yet as the movement grows and the level of unrest increases, the movement’s demands remain undefined. Some people identify this decentralized nature as the essence of the movement, while others are calling for some form of structured action.
The Huffington Post is using Urtak on the front page of their Occupy Wall Street news page to collect their audience’s opinions surrounding the demands of the Occupy movement. They’ve asked people to submit demands in the form of questions asserting “We can’t answer for the occupiers, but we can ask you!“ But if the protesters are unable to define and express their demands, will anyone else be able to?Occupy Wall Street Poll
So far, the demand proposals have been extremely thoughtful. Many of the ideas are centered around issues related to:
- Holding the financial sector accountable for its role the financial crisis.
- Regulating Private/Corporate contributions and lobbying (Citizens United).
- Restructuring taxes and deductions.
- Regulating the relationship between individual politicians and private/corporate entities.
As more people participate in the Huffington Post’s Urtak, it will be extremely interesting to see which ideas gather the most support and which issues the audience care about the most. If you want to find out what people think, you must let them ask questions.