Show of Hands (application)

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Show of Hands
Type Polling
Country United States
Headquarters Beaverton, Oregon
Key people
Tony Bacos (Founder)
Sagar Parvataneni (CEO)
Ben Higgins (Developer)
Launch date
November 2009
Official website

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 and a facilitator will ask for a "show of hands" to swiftly reach a decision on a subject.


Show of Hands creator, Tony Bacos, states that the inspiration for the creation of the application came from his children. He would frequently ask them "Would you rather...?" and thought it could be a fun and engaging application.

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.

There are three types of polls. The most common is the poll question with two possible responses to select. The second type of poll is the "picture poll" in which two images are provided, without any text, in which voters can select one. The third is the list poll in which a poll provides more than two possible responses. Results are broken down by sex, income level, age, political party and state. The political party section was broken down into Democrat, Republican, Independent and Libertarian.

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.

Users have the ability to create their own two-answer text or picture polls, but not the list polls. User polls are initially only available to the creator's followers, but each follower has the ability to share the poll with their followers.

Poll Results[edit]

Results of the polls are displayed graphically using with a graphical representation of the United States and pie charts for gender, age, income level and political party. 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. The graphical representation of the United States shows how each state answered with either red or blue based upon how the majority of voters from that state answered. The map also provides a feature showing various shadings from blue to purple to red based on the actual percentage, where purple represents an even 50% split.

Special Polls[edit]

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[edit]

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.[1] 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.

In December 2014, a set of rules was implemented after a series of complaints about arbitrary use of banning ability.[2]


Show of Hands has been downloaded over 500,000 times across the Apple and Android app stores and used by anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 users daily. Users have cast 100 million votes, as of July 2015. 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[edit]

The popularity of the application led to a weekly podcast that was hosted on Google+ and shared on YouTube.[3] The show was hosted by the application's founder, Tony Bacos and produced by a user known simply as Rob. Guests were selected from the current users of the application - sometimes based on a theme. A user by the name of Zod (Michael) was a weekly recurring guest in the show. The show discussed some of the more popular or controversial polls of the week, ranging from current events to the absurd. Due to lack of interest and followership of the YouTube podcast, the show was canceled in June 2014 after 49 episodes.


  1. ^ "Show of Hands - The Blog". Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Show of Hands rules". Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Show of Hands on Air". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 

External links[edit]