What do Conan O'Brien, Sesame Street's Grover, Suze Orman, Neil Patrick Harris and NASA have in common? They're all Shorty Award winners.
The Shorty Awards recognize the companies, people and the occasional puppet, that have created the most engaging content for social media. At the awards' beginning in 2008, the awards were limited to Twitter accounts, but since then, they've grown to include more sites, such as Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. However, true to its roots, voting takes place via tweet.
Six finalists were selected in each category, based on the number of Twitter nominations received. In all, more than 1.6 million votes were counted. Awards cover nearly every conceivable way people use social media — from best fake account to best moms and dads in the "Keepdoinggood" category.
Pop stars Justin Bieber and One Dimension have categories of their own for the best social media account run by fans. There's even a "Weird" category. Watch finalist Henrique Milagres, who says he's just one weird guy trying to understand 7 billion others.
Milagres' video was made from animated GIFs, a medium created 25 years ago, that became wildly popular over the last year. For the first time, the Shorty Awards will include a "Best Animated GIF of the Year" award. The GIF can turn serious news into bite-sized comedy. For instance, Tumblr covered the presidential debates live with off-the-cuff animated GIFs as the candidates sparred. The New York Times secured one of the finalist spots with its first-ever homepage GIF, featuring animated animals from Farmville and other social games. See all six finalists on the Shorty Awards website. A panel of judges, assembled by the event's organizer Sawhorse Media, will pick the winners and announce them at a gala event on April 8 in New York City. Email Leslie Meredith or follow her @lesliemeredith. Follow us @TechNewsDaily, Facebook or Google+.