Upside to Shorty Awards: short speeches

Bambi Francisco Roizen · February 12, 2009 · Short URL:

Twitter has its own Oscars honoring those who can Tweet... and get votes

(Updated to reflect that Pawluxury came in No. 1 in Business)

As a journalist for more than a dozen years, I've always appreciated a good headline. In fact, it's an art form. Few people have the talent to take content and create "context" with a clever headline. But when it's done correctly, it can draw readers in by the millions. Fark, the news aggregation site for funny content, has been promoting this art form for the last decade. Hence, it's booming traffic. In fact, the site's been on Jeopardy as a category twice in the past several years.

Now, Twitter has also taken short-form speak to a broad audience. While Twitter hasn't been a category on Jeopardy, it does have its own Awards ceremony. It's called: The Shorty Awards.

It's designed to honor those whose Tweets can impact or influence topics and issues that fall into such categories like business, advertising, apps, education, finance, food and humor.

Last night, 26 winners were celebrated for their Tweets, but mostly for their ability to get the most votes. Impressively, more than 50,000 votes were cast! The winners were offered $1,000 grants to travel to New York to attend the ceremony. The event also drew MC Hammer, famous musician, co-founder of DanceJam and prolific Twitterer with more than 55,000 followers.

Now, anyone who's watched Awards ceremonies know that often the acceptance speeches can get drawn out, particularly if a winner uses the opportunity to wax poetic about some political cause. 

The Shorty Awards, however, limits acceptance speeches to 140-character speeches!

To this end, the Shorty Awards makes the acceptance speeches something worth listening to. While I didn't attend the event, I can imagine that the the speeches were more important than those who received them.  

The Shorty Awards was brought to you by Sawhorse Media production. 

Here are some of the winners. Look, Guy Kawasaki, Internet pundit, and Twitter-holic, was nominated in the business category. But as he said, "I came in second next to a dog." Pawluxury came in No. 1, beating out Kawasaki. 

And, here's the Twitter thread on the event.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Fark is a satirical news forwarding site.  The Fark community identifies
odd, funny and entertaining news stories from across the Web and Fark
presents them in a clever and engaging way.

In January the site had over 4 million unique visitors and 60 million page
views - and there's tremendous growth potential beyond these numbers.  The
Fark community also submitted 60,000 stories and posted almost 900,000
comments in January alone.

In addition, the site is in a pivotal strategic position as it directs
substantial traffic outbound to other sites (Fark generated approximately 50
million outbound clicks in January).



Joined Vator on

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.


Guy Kawasaki

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