“I really have no idea what was going on tonight.”
Quick, can you guess which awards show host admitted this onstage before the night’s festivities were even over? No, it wasn’t Oscars emcee James Franco. (Good guess though.) Hint: I’ll give you 140 characters.
That’s right, it was comedian and tweeter Aasif Mandvi, on loan from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, about two hours into a night honoring social media’s most creative, prolific, and downright “weird” – their word, not mine – at Twitter’s 3rd Annual Shorty Awards, held Monday at The Times Center.
Indeed, with finalists feted in such categories as Travel, Location of the Year, Real-Time Photo of the Year, and Best Viral Campaign, this was one awards show that was truly all over the map. Voted on by a committee of 15 entertainers and social media experts, following a submission of 750,000 Tweeted nominees, the Shorty Awards included their fair share of bold-faced winners, including the Twitter accounts of Neil Patrick Harris (Actor), Castle’s Stana Katic (Actress), the Jonas Brothers (Music), and Conan O’Brien (Lifetime Achievement). Though none of them were on hand to accept, presenters included Kiefer Sutherland, Anne Meara & Jerry Stiller, and Jim Gaffigan, who presented trophies in the food categories as a “comedian, actor, and bacon enthusiast.”
In between the slew of more than 40 (!) awards, a song by punk cabaret performer Amanda Palmer highlighted the past year’s most amusing tweets, from the likes of notorious Twitter fiends Kanye West, John Mayer and Charlie Sheen. And though the show limited speeches to a breezy 140 characters, there was still time to award not one but two mayors – both of the governmental and Foursquare variety (Newark’s Cory Booker and SoHo Delicatessen’s Baratunde Thurston, respectively).
Thankfully not lost in the shuffle of acceptance speeches and pleas for followers was the underlying message of connection and progress promised by Twitter. Teachers, journalists, and nurses alike were all acknowledged for the work they do in bridging their communities across continents, while The Trevor Project received two awards for its commitment to aiding gay youth through social media outreach. And that was a cause everyone at the Shorty Awards could get behind, no matter who was #winning.