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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas
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How To Win A Cartoon Caption Contest (Tech Version)

Take home the gold in our brand new cartoon caption contest by following these simple rules: Be funnier and enter more.

I hope you’ve gotten a few LOLs from our new cartoonist John Klossner. In recent weeks, John has taken shots at enterprise security and the hardware upgrade cycle -- and you can expect more of the same in the months ahead.

For now, and in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it would be fun to add another element of audience participation to the new InformationWeek with our first -- and definitely not last -- cartoon caption contest. Here's how it works.

We supply the cartoon, you write the caption
To enter, you must be a registered site member. If you haven't signed up yet, take a minute to register now. Also, be sure to read the terms and conditions of the Name That Toon contest before you post your caption in the comment section. At the conclusion of the contest, John and the InformationWeek editors will choose a winner and runner-up, who will receive a $25 and $10 Amazon gift card respectively. The winning caption will appear online with the cartoon in early January.

For those of you who know a good cartoon when you see one but don't want to write a caption, you can still exert influence by voting on the submissions. Click thumbs up for cartoons you think are funny. As always, editorial comments and cheers for your favorites are encouraged and welcomed.

Vote early and vote often
Now, a bit of advice on how to write a funny caption from Robert Mankoff, the cartoon editor from the New Yorker magazine, which has been publishing cartoons since 1925 and conducting caption contests since 2005. Mankoff wrote in a blog last year that the secret to writing a good cartoon caption (and winning a contest) involves two things: Be funnier and enter more. "Why? Because if you have any talent for anything, and that includes captioneering, you get better by doing more of it," Mankoff wrote.

I would argue that the same could also be said about being a CIO, CTO, or anyone in IT leading projects in big data, cloud, security, and infrastructure for the enterprise, government, or healthcare.

Now let’s have some fun: Click on our contest page, Name That Toon, Win a Prize, and submit your caption in the comment section. Our panel of experts will review the entries and pick a winner by January 5. Good luck and may be best tech win!

Marilyn Cohodas has been covering technology and building community for business, government, and consumer audiences for over 20 years.

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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/11/2013 | 12:04:41 PM
How to Lose a Cartoon Caption Contest
In case you're wondering how NOT to write a caption, you can you can take comfort from the likes of comedian Zach Galifianakis and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have repeatedly tried and failed to win the New Yorker cartoon caption competition, according to The Wall Street Journal .

The Journal also offers a quantitative analysis by consumer psychologist Peter McGraw and cognitive scientist Phil Fernbach on the formula for winning captions: 

Among the findings: captions that use words that are uncommon in other entries were more likely to make the shortlist, as were captions that didn't refer to concrete elements in the cartoon. Other rules of thumb: avoid exclamation points and keep entries short.

Let the competition begin!

Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/17/2013 | 3:44:43 PM
How to win a cartoon caption contest
We've got a record-breaking number of entries in our cartoon caption contest. (True it is our first one!) But there is still time to submit yours! If you'd rather just share in the fun, read the entries and vote for your favorite. We will be selecting a winner January 5.
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