Show of Hands (application)
|Tony Bacos, Ben Higgins|
Show of Hands is an informal polling platform and social networking platform developed for use on mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad and Android as well as on the Web. The term "show of hands" refers to the common voting method used in situations where a blind ballot is not required. The facilitator will ask for a "show of hands" to swiftly reach a decision on the subject.
Show of Hands requires users to open an account, but not to verify their information or give their real name. Voting is anonymous, however users may post their own thoughts on a poll in a separate "Discuss" section.
Voters are usually given two answer options to a question. Results are broken down by sex, income, level, age, political party and state. The political party section was broken down into Democrat, Republican and Independent. Recently, the Libertarian party was added as an option, due in large part by the request of users who hold strong political views, yet do not fit into either of the two major parties.
Polls are broken down into various categories, for example Education, Health, Humor, Politics, Spirituality and Featured User Polls. Users also have the option to "follow" other users and view their polls exclusive from the general public.
Results of the polls are displayed graphically using pie charts and a graphical representation of the United States. Other groups with a minimum of five votes are also displayed numerically showing the Blue answer option. The other groups include categories such as race, religion and education level.
Show of Hands is also known for special polls that challenge users' creativity and thinking. MapArt Friday challenges users to create a specific pattern on the United States map. For example, users might be asked to create a gradient map from solid red to solid blue, from west coast to east coast, where all California users would vote red, but users in the middle states would have to work together, in order to have the correct amount of red and blue answers. Chaos Tuesday questions users as to what would create more chaos across the planet if some strange action were to happen immediately.Workplace Monday questions are aired weekly, pertaining to situations involving work. In addition, "follow me" polls are posted every month, in which users can comment pitching to other users as to why they should follow them.
Hate Speech Policy
Because the comments section is open to all members to contribute, heated debates often occur, especially regarding social and political topics. The creators of Show of Hands have enforced a policy of banning members from commenting, if it is determined they have participated in repeated harassment and demeanment of other users. This has been criticized by some users who feel that their First Amendment rights should allow them to make any comment." In addition, impersonation accounts which target any already existing Show of Hands user or team member are speedily banned.  Users can also moderate their own experience on show of hands by unfollowing or ignoring users who bother them for any reason. This cuts down on the number of users who need to be actually banned completely from the app by a Show of Hands moderator.
Show of Hands has been downloaded over 300,000 times across the Apple and Android app stores. Users have cast 75 million votes, as of August 2013. In addition to the app, the creators of Show of Hands maintain a blog and have begun a YouTube segment called SoH on Air, on a regular basis, inviting users to participate as either guests or provide questions to be discussed.
Show of Hands on Air
The popularity of the application has led to a weekly podcast that is hosted on Google+ and shared on YouTube. The show is hosted by the application's founder, Tony Bacos and produced by a user known simply as Rob. Guests are selected from the current users of the application - sometimes based on a theme. A user by the name of Zod (Michael) is a weekly recurring guest in the show. The show discusses some of the more popular or controversial polls of the week, ranging from current events to the absurd.