Last night Sidney and I sat together in the emergency room at Grand Strand Hospital. Her mom had to pay a visit for kidney stones. As we waited, Sidney pulled out her phone. Noticing that she had a Facebook Message she opened it up to read the contents. The message went something like this…
“Yo, hope you are doing well. Could you please click here and ‘like’ my Halloween photo? I am entered in this costume contest and would love your support.”
This request sent Sidney on a small tangent about how she dislikes these random requests, especially from people she barely knows or who she hasn’t talked to in a long time. I heard her out and nodded my head.
Is it just me or does it seem like there are a million of these social media costume contests this year? You know, the ones where you “vote” for your favorite photo by “liking” it. The person who submits the image that receives the most likes receives a lucrative prize. I have seen these contests floating around my newsfeed on a very consistent basis the past several days. I know they provide great content and encourage massive engagement but I am kind of hoping that someone next year introduces a different social media method that rewards great costumes.
But back to the business of this blog post. Why did I just silently nod my agreement with Sidney? Was it because I actually ran a social media costume contest on our @CCUchanticleers Instagram this past Friday? Hardly. I didn’t voice my strong opposition to people begging for social media love because I once ran a big, desperate campaign myself.
Over three years ago I entered a Mother’s Day Facebook photo contest. The image that received the most likes and comments won a getaway prize pack for the mother of whoever submitted the photo. I spent way too much time and energy trying to generate likes and comments for the photo I entered of my mom and I. Trying to do all I could to triumph over the competition, I harassed and pleaded with way too many random Facebook friends to show their support for my photo. Ultimately, I was successful and won my mom the grand prize. (For a way too detailed account of my involvement in this contest, click here).
However, looking back at my effort over 40 months later, I don’t feel much like a social media all-star. Instead, I feel a little embarrassed. Listening to Sidney’s opinion of these “Facebook campaigners” and seeing for myself how desperate people come across when plugging their contest efforts, I think I look a little dumb.
When you enter one of these contests, it becomes the sole thing focus on. It seems like the most important thing in the world and it clouds your judgment into thinking that others do as well. This haziness in the head is what caused me to reach out to people I barely knew, people I had not talked to in a few years, and even people who I didn’t even respect. Sure I won the grand prize and my mom had a wonderful time staying at Northern Quest but I do regret bothering people who didn’t owe me a thing.
I agree with Sidney. Social media contests encourage us to awkwardly reach out to folks we probably shouldn’t. When we take the bait, it doesn’t always portray us in the best light. I am taking my victory from the Mother’s Day contest and retiring from individual social media “liking” contests. Don’t Blink.