This Shouldn’t Be Difficult (But Somehow It Is)

This week I have been dealing with a couple of early tasks for my internship. Both of them seem like easy tasks, but they have proven to be a bit of a challenge.

First, I was to write a brief bio about myself so that it could be presented with the staff at the library. As a virtual intern, I am sure anyone who may cross my virtual path would want to know a little bit about this mysterious person handling social media. I do not know why this was so difficult. Was it because I am somehow still working on building connections in virtual space? Is it because I have gone through the process of filling out online dating profiles one too many times? (One time is too many times). After deciding to be short and to the point, I was finally able to submit this piece to my supervisor.

The second piece is still a work in progress. During my weekly Google Hangouts meeting, Shiva (the site supervisor) and I started working on some projects to focus on, as well as timelines for completion. The first of these is to launch a contest on Facebook intended to increase the number of followers. Easy, right? Maybe.

While many people/businesses/institutions launch these promotions every day, there are a number of guidelines one must follow. First, Facebook has a short set of guidelines mostly focused on absolving Facebook from any wrongdoing. Easy enough. The second part is tricky. There are laws on both the federal and state levels governing the administration of contests, giveaways, and the like. The main concern here is that this contest does not fall under the definition of a lottery. I will be researching to get a better definition of these laws. However, as best I can tell to be a lottery: 1) there is prize to be given away (check) 2) there is some element of chance (since this will be a random drawing of people who follow our page by a certain guideline, check), and 3) some form of “consideration” must be given by the entrant(s). This is where things get difficult. Consideration is typically an entry fee; however, depending on how closely someone chooses to interpret this, it could apply to sites asking for someone to write a review of a product/service, or possibly even as simple as asking the entrant to “Like” a page. As evidenced by the number of contests operating in this manner on Facebook and other sites, it would appear that the loophole is that the “like” can be considered the entry form since it provides a manner of identifying and means of contact for the entrants.

I still have a bit of research to do. It appears that I should draft a policy for contests, as well as create a template for contest rules (a requirement of both Facebook and the federal government). Once these have been completed and reviewed, I will share them. Now, back to work…


One thought on “This Shouldn’t Be Difficult (But Somehow It Is)

  1. Interesting that something that sounds as easy as running a contest could involve so much research upfront. It’s good you had practice writing a brief bio. That can be very difficult. And you may have to have different versions for different purposes. I’m co-editing an encyclopedia with a colleague from another institution. We asked those who provide entries to send us a bio of no more than 60 words. You would not believe how many we had to send back not just once but twice. Eventually they were able to say the same thing in fewer words. But it was a struggle.

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