Social Media Scavenger Hunting Steps up A Notch

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 26, 2011 3:20PM

2011_08DowntownDash.png A social media scavenger hunt involving teams running willy nilly around the city with their noses buried in their smart phones strives to be bigger and better than last year’s event.

With social media all the rage, last year’s FIJI Water Urban Hunt really did seem like it’d be “Chicago’s most exciting social media event of the summer” as promised. But with not much time to publicize the event and several last-minute sign ups, plus a judging system that was challenging for both the participants and judges to follow, the FIJI Water event definitely had some kinks. It wasn’t a disaster, but it could have been planned better.

This year, ING DIRECT is sponsoring the event, now called Downtown Dash. Leyla Arsan is the brains behind the event and is using her insight and firsthand experience from last year’s FIJI Water Urban Hunt to make sure this year’s social media scavenger hunt is both fun for participants and worth the investment for the sponsors. She also used survey results from last year’s event to figure out which challenges teams liked or didn’t like.

For more efficient judging, Arsan says the organizers are using a tool that monitors and collects information from Twitter using keywords, which will save tweets and filter them into a spreadsheet in real time. Another new addition to this year’s competition is The Social Engagement Challenge. Before the Sept. 10 race, teams have a series of challenges to complete; if they complete at least two, teams get a 10-minute head start on race day. The ultimate goal of the pre-challenges is to encourage teams to sign up early and get involved before race day. There’s a different set of prizes, too, including one prize worth $1,000.

If a social media scavenger hunt sounds like something you’d be interested in, here's what you need to know. You have until Sept. 8 to complete the pre-race challenges, so you have just under two weeks. Most of the race-day challenges are directly related to the sponsors, so check out the sponsor page for potential hints. Downtown Dash is also giving away answers to clues via Twitter, so follow that too. The theme of the event is '"Socially Engaging. Money Saving," and many of the clues are coming directly from the ING Direct website and blog.

Really, if you want to be as prepared as possible when race day comes, follow all of the ING Direct channels — the ING Direct Savers Community, Twitter, Facebook and the We,The Savers blog. And for some extra motivation, check out the prizes. Register for the event via Eventbrite by Sept. 9.