One problem with social media is it often feels removed from reality: A bunch of people, alone in their office or bedroom, typing away to virtual online relationships.
Zuku brings a touch of reality back with a service allowing public speakers to receive instant feedback from their audience’s cell phones. This seems blindingly obvious — hey, what if the audience could chime in? — but is something few public forums provide.
Pat Barber of Zuku tells us he got the idea 18 months ago when attending a conference and noting most of the audience was typing away on PDAs. Now, his startup Zuku is being adopted by HR functions, major conventions, and some surprising clients such as churches. A reverend at one church recently used the service to encourage his congregation to type in questions about God; he expected 10 “tweet” equivalents and ended up with 72 deep thoughts, including the one “If God is so wonderful, why is my loved one suffering in pain?”
The application could provide data mining insights as well; imagine if a large corporation such as GE, constantly training the 10 percent of its workforce that turns over each year, could analyze patterns in employee questions and concerns and then do something about it.
The anonymity and spontaneity of real feedback. Listening to audiences in a new way. Could work.