The Telegraph’s Christmas Calendar – a social media-led competition

[And following on from our last post on how not to treat online communities when it comes to photographs…]

A photography competition and a charity calendar using the images – standard fare for a newspaper appeal?

The Telegraph has just announced the winners of its charity calendar competition sponsored by Photobox – but it seems this competition had a social media twist.

The winners were voted for by readers and users of and the competition itself was only promoted via social media, not in the paper or elsewhere on, communities editor Kate Day told

The calendar has grown out of a series of weekly competitions run on the Telegraph’s culture blog asking users to send in their photos on a different weekly theme.

“Readers vote for the theme each week which involves the audience from the beginning of each week. Flickr and Facebook groups provide space to discuss the format of the competition on an ongoing basis so that we can resolve problems such as spam in the Flickr group together,” explains Day.

“Comments from readers also prompted me to arrange specific Terms and Conditions for the competition and to set up an email subscription so that they don’t miss weekly announcements.”

But running a competition and a participatory online event in this way has brought wider benefits, she says:

“Inviting participants to join in via social media has enabled the competition to spread across the internet as a kind of giant, ongoing conversation. It’s also reached an audience who love photography but may not usually read the Telegraph. It’s very exciting that a project that has been led by the audience so directly is part of this year’s Christmas Appeal. I hope that the calendar demonstrates that this kind of collaboration can produce very high quality content that can strengthen the rest of what we do as journalists.”

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