The personal website of Chris Coyier

Tracking a Twitter Hashtag Contest

We’re running an API contest over at Wufoo. We’re encouraging people who aren’t necessarily interested in participating in the contest to help us promote it over Twitter by tweeting a link to it with the “hashtag” #WufooAPIContest anywhere in the tweet. It seemed like a good idea to have way to track the entrants. It’s not a new idea at all of course, lots of Twitter-based contests do this.

So we started the contest, and the first day to pick a winner came up, and I realized I was a bit unprepared! How exactly was I going to pick a random winner? I don’t exactly have a list in front of me of all the valid tweets. Twitter search might be OK, but it only goes back 7 days. Our contest is in 7 day chunks, so that might work, but it’s still way clumsy way to try and do it.

Turns out there is an absolutely perfect way to do it, and that’s a web app called RowFeeder. RowFeeder hooks up to your Google Docs account and basically can track Twitter searches for you and dump the results as they happen into a spreadsheet. Doing it this way for a contest means that you’ll have exactly what you need to pick a winner, a spreadsheet of valid tweets, numbered and ready to go.

I just use my own random number generator to pick a winner!