On Feb. 20, TIME's Techland blog published "Polling and Social Media Collide with 'Social Polling'" by Olivia B. Waxman '11. The article discusses a new form of polling which, instead of surveying a random sample of the population, polls users online on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. The questions posed generally focus on current events but can often be more fun that those presented in traditional polls. After a fundraiser at New York's Apollo Theater where President Obama sang "Let's Stay Together," Poll Position asked Americans whether they thought he was a better president or singer.
The method does have its flaws. Currently, users of social networks are not representative of the entire population, with the vast majority of them aged between 18-24 and having a college education. The leaders of social polling are aware of its current limits, but hope there will be a change in the future. In the meantime, they just want to get people talking.
Waxman is currently a graduate student specializing in digital media at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. This past summer, she wrote two columns for TIME.com's NewsFeed blog, a daily links column and a weekly round-up of the late-night television shows. She has also contributed to Talking Points Memo and NY1 News.
She graduated cum laude and was an honors Government major (History minor) and a winner of the Senior Prize in Government. She was also co-president of the Hamilton College Democrats, a writer for the Spectator, a Project SHINE tutor, and an AHI Undergraduate Fellow. During the Hamilton Program in Washington, she served as a press intern in Senator Schumer's DC office.