When Jasmin, a 15-year-old high school student from Canada, created her Instagram account in July, she never expected to gain more than a few hundred followers. Now, she has just over 4,000.
She doesn’t post selfies, she doesn’t post pictures of what she’s having for dinner. Rather, she uploads polls and asks her followers to respond to them. Her account @ is public, but she asked for her last name not to be included in the story for privacy reasons.
The questions on @ cover a wide range of topics. They include “wear or tears", which ask followers if they’d wear a specific outfit or if they’d get rid of it; questions about astrological sign stereotypes (“Scorpios, are you competitive?”); and even things as simple as, is black licorice good? These polls are asked on Jasmin’s Instagram story, and her feed — the actual posts on her account — is a mix of memes, screenshots of the results from these polls, and a few TikToks.
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Jasmin said the polls on her account were “pretty simple and fun” in the beginning. But as she’s grown her audience, she’s begun to experiment with you questions. “I started to change the polls a little bit and ask about controversial topics because I was interested in what people had to say and I also wanted to get to know everybody,” she told Mashable.
Some of the so-called controversial questions include “what’s the craziest thing that has happened at your school.” She shares the results and asks her followers if something similar has happened at their school.
In addition to posing her own questions, Jasmin lets her audience create poll questions themselves. It makes the page more interactive, she believes. Once her followers submit some question ideas, she’ll select the ones she likes the best and present them back to her followers alongside her own.
Jasmin doesn’t stick to one specific topic with her polls because her followers aren’t looking for one specific type of question. They’re just looking to respond to questions, largely because answer polls and seeing where your responses match up to others can be a lot more entertaining than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.
Instagram first began allowing users to add polls to their stories in Oct. 2017. The feature quickly became popular with influencers, brands, and regular users. Instagrammers use polls to ask their followers what they should wear, what they should eat, what type of video or content they should create next (for influencers, creators, and YouTubers), and much more. The use of polls on Instagram is not new, but what is relatively new are accounts like Jasmin’s, ones dedicated specifically to posting polls.
Poll accounts like @pollsarefun are popping up all over Instagram, and they’re most popular among teens and tweens. “I think the reason people enjoy polls is because they can pass the time doing them,” Jasmin said.
Keke, a 14-year-old who serves as one of two admins of @, agrees. “I feel like poll accounts are becoming more popular because they give people things to do when they’re bored,” she told Mashable. “Before I was an admin for this page, I used to do polls almost every day.”
Keke uploads questions to @polls.here’s story and to its regular feed. The most popular ones are “eat or pass, would you rathers, and wear and tear” polls, Keke told Mashable. Created on June 1, the account already boasts more than 1,600 followers (and follows no one). Keke says she grew her account organically by interacting with her followers and exchanging shoutouts with other poll accounts.
Keke eventually plans to reveal her face and her identity once the account reaches 15,000 followers, which is a growth strategy used to give the account a little mystery and encourage users to follow. The logic goes, users interacting with the account want to see who is behind it, so they’ll follow the account to push the follower count closer to the magic number.
Some other poll accounts, like 19-year-old college student AJ Hirstein’s @, dive into the sticky world of politics. Hirstein has asked his followers whether they think “guns should be banned entirely,” to which 44 percent of respondents answered “yes” and 56 percent answered “no.” Alongside questions like “Which came first? Egg or chicken,” he’s also asked whether or not Donald Trump is a good president (77 percent said no) and if the U.S. government is “too powerful” (74 percent responded yes). He first uploads the polls to his story and then posts the results on his feed.
It probably isn’t a coincidence that both @polls.here and @pollsarefun both popped up this summer. Jasmin said she was only able to start her account because she wasn’t in school. “I had a lot of time on my hands so I could easily just post a lot.”
Keke says she first saw poll accounts gain popularity in the summer of 2018, but this summer, they started “becoming extremely popular.” And Emma Shea, an 18-year-old high school senior from Massachusetts who created the poll and meme account @, told Mashable she sees “more and more poll accounts” every day.
For teens, especially those on the younger side, Instagram polls have become one of the latest online pastime. Online polls are by no means new, and the influx of teenagers spending their days on the internet when classes break for summer definitely isn’t new. But the appearance of Instagram accounts, run and followed by teens and tweens, that create these online polls is a growing trend for the platform. Instagram allows young people to respond to questions created by other teens. Online quizzes like those popularized by BuzzFeed are great, but they are largely created by adults, with .
Most followers on these Instagram poll accounts are between the ages 13 and 17, admins estimate. Official statistics provided by Instagram suggest that some followers are a bit older, but that’s probably because “people lie about their age” when creating their accounts, Shea says. Instagram doesn’t allow individuals under 13 to use its platform, so tweens who want to get on the app will often lie about their birthdate to makes them appear older than they actually are.
And while these increasingly popular poll accounts may seem like nothing more than a means to satisfy summer teenage boredom, some creators are hoping their accounts will earn them some extra cash. Jasmin, the creator of @pollsarefun, says she may create a shop to sell bracelets and keychains that she makes. She would create the shop on another online platform and advertise it to the followers on her Instagram page.
Other poll account admins, though, say monetization isn’t their goal. “I just do this for fun,” Hirstein told Mashable.
With school back in session, some admins are unsure how sustainable maintaining their accounts will be. Jasmin believes her ability to post new content on the page will depend on how busy school gets. “If I’m super busy, I’ll take breaks, but I’ll for sure come back,” she says. Hirstein says his account grows faster in the summer and on weekends, so he expects to see some letdown with the start of classes, but he doesn’t expect the account to die.
Keke, who runs @polls.here, is perhaps most confident about the continued success of Instagram poll accounts among young users. “We’re still gaining followers every day. I’m pretty positive that the page will remain popular,” she said.