November 28, 2012 By Jessica Renee Napier
Two days after Election Day, the city and county of San Francisco hosted its own type of election — a photo contest to determine the favorite area fire station.
The city and county posted on Facebook: “Fire stations in San Francisco each have their own unique look. Which is your favorite neighborhood fire station? Share with us your photo.”
From Nov. 8 to Nov. 19, Facebook users were invited to submit photo entries. Then, nominated fire stations underwent a finalist selection process. After which, six fire stations were presented to the public for a vote.
Voting began on Nov. 20 and runs through Nov. 28. Facebook users could vote for fire station finalists once per day -- and today's the last day to get votes in.
“If they care enough to recognize our station, then we are doing the right thing by them,” said Captain Chris Madsen of Station 19 on Buckingham Way at Winston Street. “And that's what is most vital.”
This Facebook contest was powered by Wildfire Interactive Inc., which specializes in developing tools that enable companies to engage fans via social media. In July, Google purchased Wildfire and its Rolodex of customers, such as The Gap, the New York Giants and Virgin Atlantic.
“We believe that over time the combination of Wildfire and Google can lead to a better platform for managing all digital media marketing,” said Wildfire founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, in a joint blog post on Wildfire’s website. “For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire Web and across all social service.”
The city and county of San Francisco are not the only government agencies to use the social media tool. The city of Lancaster, Pa., is using Wildfire to engage the community in the city’s downtown area.
Downtown visitors submit holiday-themed photos taken in Downtown Lancaster. When the voting period ends, the city will award a first, second and third place winner with a prize package from local businesses.
Although such contests are not an official mechanism for government agencies to receive public feedback, Madsen may have said it best: That the contest are an indication of “feedback from our friends and neighbors.”
Photo of San Francisco Fire Station 19 courtesy of Facebook/SFGov
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