Event: Shorty Awards, Tweet!
We attended the Shorty Awards in NYC Wednesday night, the first awards created to recognize the best producers of content on Twitter. Winners were selected from over 50,000 nominees across 26 categories running the gamut from news and sports to brand and design, highlighting the broad range of ways this relatively new media is being utilized to share information and communicate ideas.
The event kicked off with an opening message from Shaquille O’Neal, NBA player and personality behind the popular Twitter account The_Real_Shaq. The fact that he was only able to appear via video, didn’t seem to phase the tech-savvy crowd one bit, most of whom were intently gazing into their cell phones in ironically appropriate acts of meta experience. The evening’s actual celebrity came courtesy of hosts that included CNN’s Rick Sanchez and Rapper MC Hammer, both no slouches when it comes to using the technology themselves. Given the chaotic nature of the proceedings – countless flashbulbs, a giant Twitter video screen and an bluegrass band providing accompaniment – it was nice to have professionals instilling a bit of order, while also making certain that all the corporate sponsors got their proper due.
In honor of the condensed form, acceptance speeches were to be kept to the length of a single Tweet – 140 characters or less – a move that spared the audience an interminable list of thank-yous, while showcasing Twitter’s less is more approach. And while this sounds good in theory, we discovered that taking the Tweet out of the context of Twitter doesn’t always work. Though the brevity appeared challenging to some, others showed that despite the limitations there was still plenty of room for profundity and humor. We found Weird honoree Martin Sargent‘s acceptance particularly relevant for its ability to sum up the rise of the new genre and its early growing pains while simultaneously poking fun – “What’s truly weird is that by receiving the $1000 grant that accompanies this award, I’m 1000 times more profitable than Twitter. Thank you.” All-in-all a fun ceremony that never took itself too seriously and once again proved that social media can bring people together in the real world.