The anonymous voter

1What is this fear that makes people remain behind the bushes when answering questions – even if it is not a politically sensitive question? With the election held in May for example, why is that some prefer to remain silent with their vote while others hold their voting card out proud like a puffed up peacock?

Is it deeper than just being introverted or extroverted? What happens if the person answering can see your name or picture?

Research carried out by audience interaction specialist sli.do revealed that 54 per cent of delegates choose to remain anonymous when asking questions via the sli.do platform.

2Over 63,000 questions were analysed from events that took place in 2014 and 2015 in the inaugural annual research.

Anonymous questions got 63 per cent more likes than questions tagged with names

Interestingly, sli.do also found out that anonymous questions got on average 63 per cent more likes than questions tagged with names.

A fifth of all participants only engaged by liking questions of others – while 20 per cent of all participants didn’t submit a question of their own, they still up-voted the questions of others and thus had a chance to influence the way conversation evolved.

3Sli.do CEO Peter Komornik says: “If over half of the questions were asked anonymously, we can assume that in a more traditional set up attendees wouldn’t have probably asked these questions at all. There is clearly a barrier to them putting their hand in the air, be it lack of confidence, sensitive topic or any other reason for wanting to remain anonymous.”

Are there any benefits to why some people prefer anonymity while others would rather stand out?

4Some may argue that the more noble of the two is humility, the other could be based in cowardice, in greater or lesser degrees.

On the other hand, anonymity can be shown to encourage participation; by promoting a greater sense of community identity, users don’t have to worry about standing out individually. Confidence increases.

5Anonymity can also potentially boost a certain kind of creative thinking and lead to improvements in problem-solving. Psychologists Ina Blau and Avner Caspi found that, in a study that examined student learning, while face-to-face interactions tended to provide greater satisfaction, in anonymous settings participation and risk-taking flourished.

So, what does this mean for events? In a time when audience engagement is becoming increasingly complex – owing to changing expectations and increased distractions, we need to be providing delegates with every opportunity to get involved with the discussions that are happening on stage, even if it means allowing the voter to remain anonymous.

 

What do you think #eventprofs? Would you rather put your hand up to answer a question or use an app? Send us an email to weblogevents@gmail.com or tweet us at @weblogevents.

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