How I organised Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee 🔤🐝🌍
On Wednesday 29th March I hosted Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee. 🔤🐝🌍🇪🇺
Based upon the events organised by the group of people behind Emojicon (which you can read about here), Europe’s premier foray into competitive emoji spelling saw 17 people from across the continent do battle within The Black Sheep ⚫🐑 bar on Capel Street in Dublin, Ireland. Ahead of this I ended up being featured across a range of Irish TV 📺 and radio 📻 programmes to promote this event (you can see/hear some of these here, here and here).
As per the first two contests, we had a panel of judges assessing the spellings that participants concocted for the idioms, aphorisms, parables and phrases they were presented with (the prompts). Our judges were Irish comedians Bláithín de Burca and Ruth Hunter, as well as myself as the event’s organiser. Again, as per the original contest, judging was intended to be based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy, although certain somewhat long-winded spellings did end up winning approval from the judges.
During the contest the prompts were circulated by emailing 📧 each participant with a link to a Google Form (see an example here), through which the participants submitted their spellings within a strict(ish) timeframe ⏳ of 3 minutes. After a non-competitive demo and four qualifying rounds, we began our head-to-head quarterfinals. Those successful in the quarterfinals advanced into the semifinals and, following another head-to-head to determine our bronze medallist 🥉, we had a best-two-out-of-three contest to determine our winner. 🥇
In the end, our winner was Sean Russ from Bad Nauheim, Germany 🇩🇪. He defeated Aisling Horan from Newport, Ireland 🇮🇪 2–0 in the finals to claim the title of Europe’s first Emoji Champion 👑🥇🏆 and the prize of a €100 💯💶 One4All gift voucher. As well as that, all quarterfinalists received a free burrito 🌯 voucher from Mexican restaurant chain Boojum and all semifinalists received a large emoji teddy featuring some somewhat creepy arms and legs. 👐👣😱
You can see all the answers from our spelling bee by clicking here, but please find below some of the best answers to two of the“prompts” our participants were presented with.
Irish People Try American Snacks:
🇨🇮👨👨👦👦➡️👅🇺🇸 🍟 😁💩
- Jenny 8. Lee, Neal Mueller and everyone behind Emojicon and the original Emoji Spelling Bee events for inspiring and blessing this event.
- Brendan Rice for assisting with event preparation and both Cole Delaney and Aine Lambe for assisting with logistics on the night.
- Bláithín de Burca and Ruth Hunter for assisting me with judging.
- One4All and Boojum for providing prizes.
- EmojiOne for being our recommended emoji rendering / app provider.
Interested in organising an Emoji Spelling Bee of your own? Here’s some tips and recommendations!
- It’s obvious, but make sure your venue has (#1) a working projector 📽with a decent length cable (e.g. HDMI) and (#2) reliable wifi 📶! We had a few issues with our wifi connectivity early in the event and, while we rose above them, they ideally should have been avoided! 😅
- Contact local entertainment / pop culture news media 📺📻📰about the event via a press release. Emojis are a popular light / entertaining topic for many news sources, so it’s worth a shot to see if you could get some free promotion — I had no expectations when I began issuing my press release, but ended up on national radio and TV! 😲
- Use Google Drive 🔍🚗 to circulate your prompts / collect participants’ spellings. It’s easy to use and, best of all, free with a Gmail account. Email links to Google Forms the participants to submit their spellings and have your projector screen displaying the Google Sheet link to each form (make sure to HIDE the email address column so the judges won’t be biased by knowing who submitted which spelling until after they’ve made their selection). 👌
- I’d recommend having a few qualifying rounds in which all resigned participants take part: this way everyone will end up at least having a couple of attempts at proposing an emoji spelling to some prompts. We had it set up that two participants would progress from each of our four qualifying rounds, leaving us with eight quarter-finalists and therefore four head-to-head quarter-finals. Of course feel free to play with the structure, but this worked well for us! 📐🎲🥇🥈🥉
- Another obvious one, but make your prompts relevant to the place you’re hosting your event, e.g. your city or country, as well as to recent developments in the world of news 📰 and pop culture 📺. This has been the case for all the emoji spelling bees so far, so it’d be great to keep up the fun localisation that has occurred! 🗺
If you’ve any questions about the above, please feel free to reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org!