The Breakroom

A Poll By Any Other Name

November 7, 2017

By Ged Maheux

Today’s release of Twitterrific 5.2 for macOS adds a host of important features and improvements including the ability to quickly search for a user (CMD-U), restoration of Searches and Lists between launches, improved syncing of your reading position, and much more. It also contains a fun experiment in the form of automatic Twitter poll detection. Back in October of 2015, Twitter launched the ability to create polls on their service as a way for users to survey their followers on a topic of their own creation. Unfortunately Twitter didn’t release an API for third party developers like us to be able to support them inside apps like Twitterrific.

Over the years we’ve had hundreds of users ask when we’ll support Twitter polls and our answer has always been that we can’t do so until Twitter decides to invite us (and other third party developers) to the poll party. Today however, we’re trying something new with our latest macOS update. Twitterrific now attempts to automatically detect when a tweet contains a poll and displays a new status button at the bottom of the tweet for it. Clicking this button opens the poll in a mini-browser which you can use to quickly vote in the poll, all within Twitterrific. As with any of the app’s popover windows, you can even detach it from the main timeline to keep tabs on the results!

Automatic Poll Detection in Twitterrific 5.2

So the question you’re probably asking is if there’s no API for polls how is this possible? Since there’s no official support, Twitterrific’s poll detection isn’t perfect. The app looks for specific markers that give clues it might be a poll, such as hashtags like #poll, as well as the graph and ballot box emoji. It also cleverly looks for specifically structured questions and if any of these factors are positive, the poll status button is displayed. So the next time you create a poll (something you still can only do via official Twitter channels) be sure to tag your tweet with #poll to help let other Twitterrific users know they can take part.

We’re looking forward to the feedback for this new feature and hope to eventually bring it to the iOS client if it’s received well. Be sure to check out the complete list of what’s new in Twitterrific 5.2 for macOS including automatic poll detection and then download the update from the App Store. Enjoy!