The Pros & Cons of FB Polls

So, I made my very first Facebook poll yesterday. Not as simple as it seems.

First of all, I could only put two options? If anyone knows how to add more than that could they tell me. Plus the limited character count for the options meant I couldn’t put in enough nuance. Also I couldn’t figure out how to edit the poll after I’d published it. Plus I set it up to run for a week and now I’m getting impatient and think it was too long a time frame. So it’s definitely a learning curve for me.

Polls on social media have the advantage of capturing the opinion of a lot of people. Already my poll has gotten nearly 500 responses. And the way it’s set up allows me to see if the percentages vary over time. So far, it’s a fairly consistent 35% positive, 65% negative. You can also see who voted and what they voted. (Or at least I can, as creator of the poll?) Plus the ability of people to comment on the poll is invaluable. I’m learning so much from people’s experiences.

Obviously there are many cons too. Not everyone uses Facebook or will see the poll. So it’s pretty much a self-selecting audience. And obviously it’s not a “scientific study” or anything like that.

In this particular poll, I worded my poll as a question for the parents of autistic children as I assumed those under 13 wouldn’t have Facebook accounts of their own.

Also, I know personally if anyone had asked me at age 8 (random age) to vote in a FB poll (not that FB existed back then) i would have felt an enormous amount of pressure to pick the “right” answer. Or even any answer. I would have frozen. I don’t believe it’s worth stressing our kids out like that just for the sake of an informal FB poll.

There’s also the issue that this poll essentially captures the perception of their child’s experience as perceived by the parents. So I believe there will be some false “positives”. I know some parents who were convinced their children were doing ok in school, until the whole thing came crashing down. So obviously this poll doesn’t tell the full story.

Still, conducting a poll like this is proving very useful to me. I want to write more about autistic experiences of school and this way I have a bit of data to back me up. Stay tuned for more polls (including ones for autistic adults) and discussions on this very important topic.

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