What's a little friendly competition amongst neighboring towns in New Jersey? Well this Christmas season, two councilmen and one mayor have decided to lighten up this year's holiday festivities with a house decoration competition in Jersey City, Newark and Roselle. Conjures up that 2004 British flick "Christmas Lights" centered on two overly competitive lifelong friends who continually find ways to out-light each others' house for the holidays. Except this year's New Jersey "Smackdown" is all in good fun, and for a good cause.
Three young elected officials in three different counties have engaged their constituents in a Facebook competition to help local struggling city libraries. Councilman Steven Fulop of Jersey City, Councilman Anibal Ramos of Newark, and Mayor Jamel Holley of Roselle, all long time friends, are using a dedicated Facebook Fan page to collect pictures of homes in each city that have been decorated for the holidays.
Fulop vs Holley vs Ramos in Holiday Smackdown mode
The city with the most uploaded pictures will receive $1,000 from each municipal leader, a total of $3,000, towards the library system. In addition, the individual picture with the most Facebook “likes” will receive a $500 holiday gift basket.
When I iSteven Fulopnterviewed Steven Fulop today as to what prompted the competition, he noted that "we recognized that the libraries (in our towns) were struggling from a budget standpoint, so we were looking for ways to raise money. . . and social media is a great way to do this."
“The great thing about social media is that it is still evolving and we are learning different ways to use it and interact with residents. This type of competition is definitely a first,” added Councilman Ramos of Newark.
Fulop who will run for Jersey City mayor in 2013 believes that social media now touches more people that other advertising platforms. "Social media is huge. We are experimenting with different platforms to hear concerns and be engaged with residents."
When asked if Jersey City beat out Newark in the last census as the largest city in New Jersey, Fulop said, "Newark is still a tiny bit bigger than JC however the reality is that this is not a contest about size it is a contest about pride. Roselle can win if they get more people engaged however I am focused on the JC side and fully intend to beat them handedly."
While Roselle is smaller in size than Newark and Jersey City, Mayor Holley isn’t deterred, “We may not be as big as Newark and Jersey City but we are the little engine that could and we fully intend on winning this,” concluded Mayor Holley.
Here’s how the contest works:
1. Go onto their Facebook Fan page "HOME Decoration Smackdown: Jersey City vs. Newark vs. Roselle"
2. Upload a photograph of a home in your neighborhood that is decorated and give the location of the house (Jersey City).
It is as easy as that!
If you just want to visit the site to see which houses have been submitted, the decorated house that gets the most Facebook “likes” will get a holiday GIFT BASKET from the three of us valued at $500. So please take a second over the next two weeks (deadline for submissions is December 23rd at midnight) and decorate your house or take a picture of one in your neighborhood.
So if you're a JC, Newark or Roselle resident, if that doesn't motivate you to dress up your home this holiday season, I don't know what will? And if you don't reside in one of these towns, it's not too late to start your very own friendly competition where you live. Even Snoopy has caught the bug.
UPDATE - December 24, 2011 - NJ.com - Jersey City beats out Newark, Roselle in decoration competition, wins $3,000 for library - and Jersey Journal photographer Richard McCormack had the most likes for his photos that he posted on the site.