I’ve written enough about being a finalist in the Shorty Awards to make it quite clear how excited I’ve been about heading to the Social Media Oscars. It’s not until you find yourself sat in the audience at the New York Times building that you realise the social part of this isn’t all virtual.
I hadn’t been practicing my ‘honourable in defeat face’. Perhaps I should have, but sod it, I’ve worked damn hard to campaign on behalf of all great apps and I was genuinely disappointed not to lift the award on stage.
I was beaten by Digg. This isn’t sour grapes, but I lost to an app that hadn’t made any effort to win, had no campaign video and the Shorty community didn’t even vote for (it was added by the Academy). There’s something seriously wrong here – and not just in my category as this was a view shared by of many of my fellow ‘losers’.
To make matters worse, not only had I flown from London, queued for 40 minutes in the rain to get in, but had I actually won my category I wouldn’t have had my chance on stage as they were all read out, then the proceedings moved on. Anyway, here’s the 140 character acceptance speech I had planned:
“4 years ago, I queued up outside the 5th Ave Apple Store to buy the 1st iPad, to check our 1st iPad app worked. It did! The rest is history”
It may sound corny but this genuinely is a team effort. I’m the one hijacking the social channels and the airwaves and prancing around on stage for a living but without the incredible talents of Brandwidth’s design, development and client services teams, I wouldn’t have much to talk about.
If it looks as if April has been a big month for headlines (”Dean’s a Shorty Loser”) wait until you see May – major app launches in Music and Entertainment and interactive books for global blockbusters. This couldn’t be more exciting.
To add to April's news, we've just reached the final of the Webby Awards with our multi-touch book 'Saving Mr Banks' and our app 'The Doors'. It's too late to vote for the Shorty Awards this year, but we'd love a few votes in the Webbys.
The apps may be fun but this isn’t always the case for Social media.
We often hear of breaking news events through social channels, in many cases ahead of the traditional broadcast networks. I wrote about this last year after the tragic murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside the Woolwich barracks.
This week was no exception. We heard the tragic news of the death of Peaches Geldof, someone that had broadcast openly on social networks and attracted controversy, open criticism and abuse in the process. She wore her heart on her sleeve right up to her final Tweet.
This stuff is a window into our lives. We choose the shape of that window, and how frosted the glass is. Ultimately, we can retain control and shape the conversation, but it’s all too easy to broadcast one word out of place and suffer the consequences. The internet is an unforgiving beast – made up of both those who use it and the amplifying ripple-effect of digital content itself.
‘Social media’ is here to stay, even if the phrase and the Shorty Awards soon become irrelevant. Treat it with respect and it’s a fabulous doorway to your audience or a willing plaything. Step out of line and you’ll soon find playground politics are alive and well in the digital age.