I recently came back from BlogWorld and attended many of the cause tracks there to learn about the methods being used both for fundraising and driving social participation to see what I nuggets we could use at the X PRIZE Foundation.

One of the funner and more interactive panels was the Using the Social Web to Fuel Real-World Social Action. Jessica Kirkwood, VP of Social Media at Hand’s on Network, moderated the panel.

She stated:

This won’t be a ‘talking heads’ panel discussion”, said Jessica Kirkwood, “instead we’ll be calling on the wisdom of the crowd and challenging our nation’s top bloggers to drive real-world action right from the conference room.

This panel initiated the crowd to participate from the start. They began by splitting the crowd into three groups. Then they provided a long list of ways that the crowd could engage their network on Twitter to do various things to gain points. There were varying things that you could ask them to do from simple things such as asking your followers to share a cause for 2 points to more difficult asks such as donating $10 to a cause for 10 points. Each team would ask their followers to use a specific team designated hashtag (ours was #rwa2) when tweeting a response to the ask.

This exercise was interesting in several ways. It created a gaming aspect which drove us to participate in a way that may have not worked as well if we weren’t getting points to compete against other teams. We had to come up with a strategy that made us determine the best plan of attack based on the many different things we could ask our network to do and what we felt they would respond to.

I chose the simple 2 point ask I mentioned above asking my followers to share a cause they felt strongly about. You can see the results of my ask below:

Initially I was a bit skeptical of how this would play out, but the room got very competitive and folks were calling out their points and the competitive juices definitely got flowing. Well our team came in second but I was pretty impressed with our results. Overall I found the panel to be a really good exercise in thinking about how to strategically try to get your network to engage with a cause.

Update: Here’s more details about the panel posted by Jessica Kirkwood on her blog

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