What does it feel like to get a Shorty Award? George Takei, who received a Distinguished Achievement in Internet Culture award, summed it up best in his recorded acceptance speech: “It’s just as cool as having an asteroid named after me.”
The 5th annual Shorty Awards, held Monday night at the Times Center in New York City, honored the best use of social media outlets, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Foursquare, among others. Hosted by Felicia Day, actress and founder of geekandsundry.com, the awards were streamed live and brought together social media talents from entertainment to activism.
The Twitter general public itself nominated Twitter handles, and those who garnered the most votes became finalists. Winners were then chosen by the Real Time Academy, composed of leaders in journalism, business, technology and culture.
And yes, winners were asked to give their acceptance speeches in 140 characters or less.
Some of the more memorable of the night (that followed the 140 rule) were:
“A Jewish guy from Brazil being the best in the world. Suck it Hitler.” – Rafinha Bastos, on winning best Comedian on Twitter.
“Thanks to everyone for their endorsement of our future jobs on Hillary’s 2016 campaign” – Stacey Lambe, on winning Tumblr of the Year for Texts from Hillary.
“As a photographer, I believe photos speak louder than words so I’m gonna capture this moment and take a photo of all of you beautiful people” – Jenna Pope, on a tie win (with Mike Lerner) for photography.
And finally, in a statement that seemed to sum up the power of social media, Kenyatta Leal, who won the Quora Answer of the Year for his response to “What does the first day of a 5+ year prison sentence feel like?” said this via video from prison (we’ll cut him a break for exceeding the 140 character limit):
“I never thought that my first day of my life since [prison] would amount to anything more than a bad memory. Receiving this award affirms that whatever the circumstances may be, everything in life has value. We just have to open up our minds as to what they may be – and in some cases, write about it.”
While the live show broadcasted the featured awards, the Shorty Industry Awards, now in its 2nd year, were given out earlier that day. The separate ceremony recognized the best use of social media campaigns by brands and agencies. On the a floor below the main stage, guests, sponsors and nominees for the Industry Awards were using the Simulcast Party room as a space for networking, photo–ops, and to relish in their newly-received glass plaques.
With the realm of social media platforms ever expanding, this year’s winners effectively grasped these tools to create unique and engaging campaigns. The winner for the Best Use of Social Media in Real Life, Temple University, produced by Neiman, simply asked Temple university students to Instagram their lives so that prospective students could get a glimpse into college life. The company said they’ve learned a lot from previous less successful strategies.
“If you come off to sales-y, like you’re pushing a product, people are not going to listen to you, so we kind of find ways to dial that back. The thing about social media is that it has to be personal…make it as human as possible,” said Chris Reif, Neiman’s digital creative director.
While various brands, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, competed in their respective categories, all focused on the importance of engaging with your audience when posting content as a way to use social media effectively for brands.
“We’re having pretty genuine conversations with our fans every single day,” said Franklin DeFelice, a social media communications manager at Deep Focus, whose client, Pepsi, managed to gain 250,000 fans without any direct fan acquisition campaigns.
As the Shorty Awards shows, getting recognition is simply about putting out great content that your followers will enjoy, no matter if you’re promoting your product or sharing your love for Justin Bieber. And if that Tumblr of cat memes doesn’t work out, there’s always next year’s Shorty’s.
As Adam Smith of Texts from Hilary said, “You’re never going to run out of space on the internet, right?”
Missed the show? Watch the full 90 minute video here: http://livestream.com/shortyawards
You’ll find the full list of winner from the main stage on the Shorty Awards website.