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Google+ Launches the Google Photography Prize

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During the Google+ for Business session at BlogWorld LA, Guy Kawasaki made a comment about passionate people using the social network, which I highlighted. He said “For me, Facebook is for friends and family and Google+ is for people who share your passion that you don’t know yet.

One group of passionate people whom he mentioned were on Google+ are photographers. Google+ agrees. So much so they’ve launched a contest looking for the photography stars of the future.

Not only are there quite a few amazing photographers hanging out on Google+, but a staggering number of photos have been posted.

Google+ is only a few months old, but the photography community is already thriving on it. Take a look at the profiles of Scott Jarvie, Thomas Hawk, Colby Brown or Claire Grigaut to see just a few of the inspiring photographers on Google+. More than 3.4 billion photos have been uploaded to the platform in the first 100 days.

Google is teaming up with Saatchi Gallery, London for the Google Photography Prize. This will give students around the world a chance to showcase their photos on Google+, as well as have their work exhibited on the world wide stage. It sounds like an amazing opportunity.

For more information on the contest, visit the Google Photography Prize page. For those of you who would like to see all of the great work being submitted, Saatchi Gallery, London will share updates on their page, so be sure to add them to your Google+ Circles.

Image Source: SXC

Social Networking Site Zooppa Crowdsources Creativity to Make a Difference

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Social networking sites can be more than just reconnecting with old friends, sharing photos and what you’re up to at the moment. In fact, they can make a difference. A huge difference and that’s exactly what Zooppa is doing.

Zooppa is a social networking site of more than 120,000 creatives and they are sponsoring a contest for MatchingDonors.com.  New Line Media, 20th Century Fox and National Lampoon execs are also lending a hand after the MatchingDonors website helped change a life of someone close to them.

National Lampoon producer Alan Donnes owes his life to MatchingDonors.com. He received a kidney from a donor which he found using the website and now he is giving back to the organization by participating on a panel of judges for the MatchingDonors.com “Everybody Can Save A Life!” video contest.

The top three videos will be recognized at the Hollywood Awards Gala at the end of October. Not only that, but the video creators will earn film or assistant production credits on a project with one of the judges and win cash. Submissions can be uploaded at Zooppa through October 1.

Here’s a video clip about the contest.

Keep Your Contests Simple!

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… by Steve Piacente

It seemed like a good idea. Everyone said it was a good idea. My idea for a contest for my self-published book. And yet, when it came time to actually taking the “Script -Trailer Challenge,” it turned out very few wanted to be bothered.

Contests and challenges have been around since our ancestors scratched out tic-tac-toe in the dirt a billion years ago. These days, even the government has joined the fun, launching http://challenge.gov/ … “a place where the public and government can solve problems together.

So I thought I was on solid ground with putting together a book trailer contest. The concept: read a one-page, near-final draft of the script for the trailer, watch the video, and spot the differences. The prize? A signed copy of Bella.

The trailer, at www.getbella.com, does a nice job of previewing the story of an anguished widow’s search for the truth about her husband’s death overseas. She lures a Washington journalist into the investigation, and together, they learn a bunch about the power of temptation and the futility of revenge.

The idea for the contest was spurred by those side-by-side, nearly identical photos you see in magazines. The object? Spot the differences.

I jumped in like Patton, who said, “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” I posted simple instructions on my website that said:

Good trailers begin with a good idea and a sharp script. Of course the first draft is never the final. We found a late draft, compared it to the trailer, and spotted at least six differences. Find them yourself to win a signed copy of the book.

I provided links so fans wouldn’t have to leave the website, and I offered an easy way for players to email me their findings. I was excited and a little concerned that I might have to wade though hundreds of entries.

Then reality happened. It turned out that few shared my enthusiasm, though I did wind up declaring two winners.

The lesson? For contests to work, they must be simple. A better idea might have been to ask visitors to watch the trailer and spot something hidden within. It was also suggested that asking people to cross two mediums – print and video – was asking too much.

So if you’re contemplating a contest, keep it simple, or be ready to offer up a prize most self-published authors probably can’t afford.

Steve Piacente is deputy communications director at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), an award-winning former reporter, and an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C. In late 2010, he published Bella, a novel that centers on Isabel Moss’ quest to uncover the truth behind her husband’s mysterious death on an Afghan battlefield. Watch the video trailer at: www.getbella.com.

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