BUFFALO, N.Y. - If you are torn between what purse to buy your mom for Mother's Day, or perhaps curious to see what Buffalonians rank as the best spot for wings, there's an app for that.
"If Instagram and Survey Monkey had a baby, it would be 'Bestest'," Kelly Helmuth, Chief Growth Officer for the app Bestest, said. "So it's a social feed. It's own social platform. Where you follow your favorite brands, your political figures, your friends and family and weigh in."
"Bestest" is a polling app that let's you crowd-source opinions to make better decisions. You add friends, post polls and watch the votes roll in.
Founder and CEO, Lalit Goel, said he came up with the idea one day when his wife was indecisive about what pair of glasses to buy. When he went to see if someone else had already created an app primarily for polling, he found nothing.
"We realized the scope for this was really vast," Goel said. "Anytime. Anyone. On anything. Anywhere. So we realized you can do polling in fashion industry. In politics. Sports. You name it."
You might be thinking, why use Bestest when Facebook and Twitter already have polling options?
The Bestest team said their app gives you the option to poll the traditional way with text...or add pictures. It lets you manipulate the audience from a large population to just a select group you've created.
"Whether it's a voice in someone...how they decorate their living room because they're indecisive and you have a strong positive message or opinion. So on a very nuclear level. But more importantly, a voice on your campus and a voice in your community and a voice with brands making decisions that influence the environment."
The idea of that voice caught the attention of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. Dyster is one of the early champions of the app. He downloaded Bestest and is planning to roll it out for governmental affairs in the near future.
"All governments are interested in hearing more from their citizens on the things that impact their lives day to day and new technologies give us new ways of reaching out to people to hear what they're thinking," Mayor Dyster said.
The city already plans to switch their normal polling method at "Pints for Progress", a monthly event that supports local projects, over to Bestest.
Mayor Dyster said the app provides a platform of communication to his community that does not currently exist.
"Maybe to try to give those citizens who might be shy about standing up at a public meeting maybe in front of a microphone, maybe a TV cameras, a chance to voice their opinions in a little more private setting," Dyster explained.
For Goel, it's exciting to see the app gaining traction at the local level. For the 30 years he's lived here, he said he has always known Buffalo was capable of leading the nation in innovation. And now he's proud to spread an app with Buffalo's name on it.
"This is the Buffalo app," Goel said. "We're going to put a big poster out there so people can see that buffalo is not behind in cutting edge social media app."
In addition to Mayor Dyster jumping on board with "Bestest", The University of Buffalo's School of Management is also using it.
The app is free and available on the Apple and Android store.
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