This third post in our series of new and interesting tech startups is about Askem, an application designed to help you get quick answers from your social network.

In my previous blog post, I covered how social media has been used in a number of unusual ways. Asking questions to your friends on it, however, is not such an unusual thing to do. Yet other than Facebook polls, there are few options that people can use to get answers to any of their daily (and sometimes time sensitive) questions. Enter Askem, a service designed to help you do exactly that.

askem The way Askem works isn’t what you would typically expect. It’s not a market research product that’s used for surveys and corporate feedback (...yet), but more of an app designed to allow people to ask questions based on a picture and receive others’ feedback.

Confused about which of the two shirts you should buy? Snap a picture of them side-by-side and send it away to your friends. They can click on the answer they agree with most to give you the benefit of your own personal survey, social media style.

What really makes Askem appealing — apart from the obvious — is that it belongs to the class of hybrid social networks, which let you utilize your existing circle of friends on other social networks.

Askem lets you share your questions on Facebook directly through the app. It also allows anyone — not just users of Askem, but anyone — to send you their opinions. In other words, this is probably one of the first social networks that interacts seamlessly with outside users, even those on other social networks.

As for the value of this app to businesses, that couldn’t be more apparent. What Knotch does for sentiments, Askem does for opinions. The biggest benefit to the data Askem provides is that it is structured. Be it any question, there are up to five different answers people could choose, giving you access to a wealth of opinions. And the app makes it possible to reach millions of users on Facebook, your own network on Askem, as well as on any other place where you’d like to post the link to your question.

While the Askem folks may or may not have figured out how they’re going to provide market intelligence, we can definitely make some educated guesses. For one, let’s say they make your brand searchable by name. Reputation Management Platforms such as ours could easily hook into that network and give you a live feed of the questions people are asking about your brand and the answers they’re receiving.

Apart from keeping an eye on your brand on a day-to-day basis, you could also get excellent trending data right after a big campaign launch and see how people are liking your new product, service, or initiative.

These are the kind of products that really get us excited. What about you and your friends? Do you want to Askem anything?