Contests and Spending Social Capital

So, USA Today has been running a series of weekly contests for travel social media people where you vote for the best whatever. This week it was photography and I was put on the list.

Hooray for me. It is nice to be recognized by an outlet as prestigious as USA Today.

I’m here to announce that I’m not going to win. Not that it is that big of a deal. There is no prize money. There isn’t even a certificate to hang on the wall for all I know.

Maybe I could put together some sort of campaign to try to win, but there is no point. Not only is there no point, it is actually positively harmful to try to win these sort of voting contests.

When you have an audience of people who follows you, you only have so much social capital you can spend. If you ask people to do something, you might get a large number of them to do it. They might do it just because they like you and they support you.

The more you ask of them however, the less you are going to get. The goodwill you had developed can be exhausted by asking too much.

The issue is what you should spend your limited social capital on. It could be supporting a cause. It could be buying a product. Whatever it is, it should be something worthwhile.

Clicking contests are not worthwhile.

I mentioned it on Facebook yesterday and that was more of a thank you to USA Today than a call for votes. That is all I will do.

Some of you will remember back several years ago (I think it was 2011) when Lonely Planet ran a blog contest that was based mostly on voting. It became ridiculous the amount of pandering and nagging people were doing online to get votes. Many people totally used up their social capital trying to win a clicking contest.

Lest you think that these clicking contests have merit, just realize that anyone can go to Amazon Mechanical Turk and buy clicks for as little as $0.01 per vote….and it doesn’t violate the rules because there are no rules.

So, to whoever ends up winning this clicking contest, congrats. You are a champion clicker.

One Comment

  1. Great post. I see these contest and, while I’m sure it’s nice to be recognized, it’s also annoying to see all of “vote for me” requests.

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