Sunday, August 15, 2010

Contest After Thoughts: The Snowball Effect

For ease of following, this post is divides into 3 parts. (1) Data from the contest (2) Why I attemted this contest (3) Particiant Feedback.

Part 1: Contest Data:

My first prize-giving competition is over, with PriusGuy2004 winning the 4,000 Micosoft points. Each entrant was assigned a number (and only counted once, if you send the code through Twitter and Xbox), and then I used a random number generator on my ipod to pick the winner. Now, before you all scatter to the winds, I thought I'd share some info and feedback from the contest.

Congrats to everyone, as every person who submitted the code had the numbers in the right order.

When I started the contest, I had only 18 followers. Over the weekend, that number has risen to 79, an increase of 61 people.

Over the 3 days of the contest, this blog registered 2,038 hits, including 1,084 on Friday... by far the busiest day this blog has ever seen. (Full disclosure: The way my hit counter is set up, every time someone loads a page, it counts as a hit. So, if one person got every post right in sequence on the very first try, they'd likely count for 7 hits. That means this number isn't quite as impressive as it looks, but still, that's a lot of activity.)

Of course, the next question is about the attrition rate. Now that the contest is over, and a winner has been named, how many people are going to stick around, and how many will be gone for good? I'm hoping looking through this blog and reading a little of what's on offer here will be enough to convince the majority to stick around. Only time will tell on this one.

Part 2: Why have this contest?

Naturally, I want to try to build up my audience on Twitter and this blog, as the more eyes I can get on my work, the better that is for my future goals (such as working in the game industry, for example). Besides offering up some fun shenanigans and a bribe to get people to check my Twitter and blog, I wanted to see first hand what I call the "Snowball Effect." (I got a degree in Sociology folks, wanting to conduct 'social experiments' comes with the territory) Imagine a small snowball rolling down hill. As it goes, it picks up speed, growing by leaps and bounds as it picks up speed. The same sort of effect can be replicated in the Twitter-verse.

I started with 18 followers. As far as I can recall, only 2 of my original 18 retweeted my message. Using their follower counts as a guide, from just 2 retweets, my message reached almost 400 people! And once those 400 retweeted to their lists of followers, the number of people my message may have reached quickly becomes too difficult to accurately track. I'd have to add up the follower counts of every one of my followers to even come close, but considering one of the participants has about 1,600 followers (and another on quick glance had 1,000), I'd say the message got out as well as I could have hoped. That's a lot of views from an initial dispersal group of just TWO people!!!

Seeing firsthand how data can spread through something like Twitter was a valuable lesson to learn, as the transmission of data through places like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube will play a part in the novel I'm slowly, gradually working on. Seeing a good snowball from this end of it was worth the 4,000 Microsoft points alone, but any additional following is one hell of a bonus.

Part 3: Participant Feedback

So, was this contest any fun? Here's what a lot of you said (note I'm using the GT or Screen name form the source of the message; sorry for any typos):

ChainsawCharlIe: nice scavenger hunt

PriusGuy2004: Thanks for the contest! Nice job on the scavenger hunt!

Kasanagi2k5: Thank you for hosting such an awesome contest.

Azazel Hellion3: That was fun. I don't know how you will do this... Thanks for the contest.

il Radd: very interesting way to do a contest.

alee67: Thanks for this generous giveaway!

NeT ReAPeR ZERO: Hi Nate, thanks to your contest I finally had to succumb to the evil trend that is Twitter and create an account just to follow you. The scavenger hunt was a pretty neat idea, but a bit too easy.

Neo_Ravager: This was something different, but I don't mind working for a chance to win & variety is the spice of life.

PenultimateHero: Good morning Nate. After an hour rummaging through your blog yesterday, I finally found all six numbers.

Garry_Grant: Brilliant idea to do a scavenger hunt to be eligible for your contest. :)

Phantoms_Heart: That was quite tough, but here is the code. Thank you for such a great contest!

xylofreak: that was fun good job with the hunt

Since the reception for the contest was so positive, I'm sure I'll do another in the future. Next time, I think I'm going to make it harder. Most of the clues led to a title of a post, and with the number and next clue at the top of the post, reading wasn't truly required (though I'm glad several of you did read through the blog).

The next one will require reading through posts, and possibly even direct people off-site, to things like my reviews for x360a. The rewards will be worth the effort though... I will be trying to pick up a little swag at PAX early in Sept. for the specific purpose of audience giveaways. We'll see if I'm successful at that. =)

Thanks again everyone for playing, and I hope you stick around!

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