The last week has been an interesting social media experiment for me. As you know by now, HP is doing a massive computer giveaway split across 50 different blogs. I became inspired and am still trying to work hard to win one of the contests to make a little Christmas magic happen here in the Heartlands. I entered a couple that were random drawings..and lost. I entered one on Liz Henry's Blog about poetry, technology and politics that was an "inspire me" contest. I got an honorable mention for my comment, but no computers. I was excited because people liked my writing, but no computers to share. Then I found out about Chris Parillo's contest.. it was a write a post and get the most comments sort of post. I wrote about something I have a passion for.. cooking and then started the social media pimping. I wanted to spread the word, but did not want to be completely annoying about it all.
I did a couple of tweets about the contest and included a link to the article. I posted it on my Facebook status. I sent out multiple emails to different mailing lists. The comments rushed forward... mostly family and really good friends at first. We jumped up to 21 comments in no time at all.. putting us at about number 5 or 6 in the contest. My hopes surged.. maybe we had a real chance at this.
The next day, I put out a few more tweets, but the response was slow. We stalled at about 24 comments. I really want this for the people involved, so I started calling some friends who I had emailed in the initial rush. I sat people down and asked them to read and comment on it... we jumped up to 41 comments. There was a chance after all..
With less than 24 hours left in the contest, I decided to get a little more pushy.. I started DMing people on Twitter. I actually DM'd so many that I used up my 24 hour quota of DMs (several of us did not even know the limit had been added...). But I started getting lots of positive results. DMs back from people, emails, wow. I got excited. I logged back into Facebook and started Facebook IMing people who were actively online.. asking them to please check it out and comment if they liked it.
The comments awaited moderation and poor Chris apparently came down with food poisoning, others covered for him. With no idea where I stood, I finally drifted off to sleep at about 1am.
I woke up at 3am this morning to check. Comment count was at 96!! Unfortunately, someone else has 100 and another yet has 110, so although no official winner has been announced, I am guessing this is one I did not win.
However, I learned a really important lesson about social networking. We all talk about the power of public statements and posts. We get in the pulpit and talk about how it streamlines communication and action to have things like blogs and general public streams of ideas and discussions. And I think these are all very very good things. This is a good way of asynchronously getting together groups of people who would never have converged, otherwise. But when it came down to really getting things done, to really motivating people to action? The personal, direct one on one interaction won out every single time.
I do not regret participating in Chris's contest.. I got introduced to Geeks!, which I did not know about and found some great new people to follow and interact with over at Twitter. Life is all about the journey.
Oh, and the computers? I have not given up on those yet either.. I found another contest to tackle and try all over again over at Sugar Jones' Living in Theory blog. You should come and join in the fun. This one is not about popularity or the power of your story alone.. ( thank goodness-- no more requests for contests)it is also about community building. I am impressed with the concept, and look forward to applying some of the lessons I learned in the last couple of contests. Watch a little later for my essay part of that entry, and check out the #sugarmagic tags on Twitter to see if we can get a community built up.