Call me a geek, but it truly warms my heart to see people using social media in unique ways to generate mass awareness. It warms my heart even more to know its being embraced by our very own city hall!

The City of Ottawa is running their first major social media campaign/contest called: Picture it downtown. The concept intends to draw awareness for all eight of downtown Ottawa’s beautiful communities (Bank Street, Byward Market, Chinatown, Downtown Rideau, Preston Street, Sparks Street, The Glebe, and Wellington West).

Go downtown. Snap a picture. Share it online. It’s as simple as that!

The recent recession has resulted in the City of Ottawa looking for a way to keep the city’s economy humming by keeping citizens interested in Ottawa’s downtown’s core. What better way to showcase all the great sights, sounds, and excitement of Ottawa than to create a contest that interacts with the people?

It’s brilliant!

The contest runs from October 15, 2009 to November 19, 2009 and incorporates the use of some of the Internet’s most popular social media tools.

You can see the contest’s pictures on: Flickr
You can watch the contest’s videos on: YouTube
You can join the conversation about Ottawa’s downtown on: Twitter

What’s great about the content being produced is it shows real people in Ottawa interacting in some of the city’s most exciting venues. With an extensive list of contest sponsors providing some great daily prizes, there are plenty of chances to win. Including nine grand prizes consisting of gift certificates, or prize packages, with a minimum value of $500.

I’d like to think the City of Ottawa was somewhat inspired by our good friend Luigi during the successful Catch Luigi Contest this past summer. Either way, it’s great to see people, businesses, and city hall recognizing the marketing power of social media.

Say Cheese, Ottawa! Get out there and snap some pics!

For more information, visit Picture It Downtown.