Tara Correia and Hilary Creamer are used to packing a suitcase. Hilary spent eleven months in Germany for on a Rotary Exchange in high school, and they both have traveled extensively throughout Europe. This week, the girls are packing for another trip. It’s arguably the most exciting trip either of them has ever been on, but they don’t get to go overseas, or even into another country. Tara and Hilary are going to Vancouver, but more specifically, these two students from Rothesay, New Brunswick are going to the Olympics.
The girls are getting a free 20-day trip to Vancouver courtesy of Samsung, as one of five teams of two in the company’s “Mobile Explorers” competition. Ten finalists have been chosen from across Canada to go to Vancouver to compete, as well as 47 others from around the world. Both Hilary and Tara have already won round-trip airfare to Vancouver, meals while they’re at the Games, and two Samsung Omnia II cell phones.
The grand prize is $5000.00 per team member, but the girls agree that the chance to go to the Olympics is enough of a prize.
“I didn’t even know about the money at the beginning,” Tara says. “I thought the prize was going to Vancouver.”
The friends got together, and filmed their entrance video to the competition on December 1.
“I heard about the contest on a Thursday, I think it was, and we filmed our video Saturday night,” Tara says. “It was during finals, but we stayed up all night and submitted it at, like, 5am on Sunday.”
They titled their submission “Two Peas in a Vlog”, and got the call as national finalists on December 21. The name stuck, and their website will be up and running for the duration of their stay in Vancouver.
The girls will be judged on originality, quality of interviews and the amount of hits that their blog gets during the Olympics. They both agree that the biggest challenge will be creating a hook, something that will bring viewers back to their page day after day.
“We’re thinking if we get some interesting things to say, we’ll be able to hook people in so that they keep coming back,” Tara says.
The competition is emphasizing social networking through Samsung’s Wireless Olympic Works. It’s a new application that aims at connecting Olympic officials, athletes, fans and the media.
“The neat thing about it is that it has the WOW application on it,” Hilary said of the phone. “Wireless Olympics Works, it’s the point of the whole competition.”
Benjamin Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Canada, says that the prize “will allow the eventual winners to use Samsung mobile technology, including the Samsung Omnia II Olympic hero phone, to interact and share their personal WOW moments.”
Although the competition has already started, and they leave in two weeks, Tara says that they still don’t know exactly what their tasks will be, or what equipment they’re going to use.
“The phone also has a five megapixel camera, so we’re wondering if they’re expecting us to use that for videotaping. But we know that the US part of the competition is getting a camera and a video camera, so we’re really unsure,” Tara says. “There’s a lot of stuff that they said they can’t tell us yet.”
While the contest is aimed at promoting the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the girls say that it didn’t take much convincing for them to build on their use of the internet.
“None of this would have been possible without social networking,” Hilary says.
When their original video had to be voted into the Top Ten in Canada, they used Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and encourage their friends and family to keep voting.
“ Each of us has almost a thousand friends on Facebook, so the emails got passed around quickly,” Hilary says. “Way more people than we ever thought saw our video and voted for it.”
They’re hoping that the views and voting will continue once they get to Vancouver. But according to Hilary, that’s not the most important part of the trip.
“We just want to have fun and experience as much as we can. I don’t want to forget anything!”
Visit the “Two Peas in a Vlog” site, and share in their Olympic experience at http://twopeasinavlog.com/