Last night’s ceremony for Twitter’s second annual Shorty Awards at the Times Center was the type of show that many people wish was the norm. Host and CNN news anchor Rick Sanchez rifled through 28 categories in about 90 minutes with humor and aplomb. All winners — those present in real-time, through video clips or via tweeted responses shown on a large video screen — were encouraged to keep their speeches short. In an animated segment, Mrs. Stephen Fry kept “hers” literally to 140 characters…and cut herself off.
The irreverence that marked the Shorty Awards — which celebrate excellence in short, real-time content, and which really embraced a wide range of winners — made for a spontaneously fun night. Grover made a speech for Sesame Street‘s Brand Shorty Award (shared with fellow winner Whole Foods) and inappropriately brought a laundry list of people to thank. A short mockumentary called “Twitter Cops” called out people who abuse the 140-character domain, such as a man busted for tweeting during a dinner date. (“It’s not illegal, it’s disrespectful!”) There was William Shatner reading excerpts (via video) from the very un-PC shitmydadsays, which is being turned into a television series by CBS. And David McDonald, a nominee in the Weird category, pulled a Kanye when he did not win (he lost to TheLlama), jumping around on stage, hogging the mic, yelling and even pouring water on himself. Some of us thought it was staged — the unflappable, good-humored Sanchez joked that it took them hours to practice that — but reportedly it was real.
The night was not all about jokes and pranks. Many of the award winners showed that the rapidly growing social media site really can be used for a higher purpose. Dr. Rachel Dunlop and Space Shuttle technician Jen Scheer won the Health and Science Shorty Awards, respectively, for using the site to discuss science-based medicine and space travel. Entrepreneur Janis Krums won a Shorty Award for Real-Time Photo of the Year for his shot of the “Miracle On The Hudson“. American soldier Mark Watson (aka SoldierKnowsBest) won the Tech Shorty Award for his tweeting about computers and technology. Through donations from his tweet peeps, Twitchhiker (and Travel Shorty Award winner) Paul Smith traveled from the UK to New Zealand and raised money for charity. And Carel Pedre won a Special Shorty Award for tweeting about the humanitarian crisis in his home country of Haiti. Seeing Grover was cool; meeting Pedre was cooler.
Check out the full list of the 2010 Shorty Award winners here.
Following is a photo gallery from the event.