One editor's take on the 2016 Shorty Awards

One editor's take on the 2016 Shorty Awards

YouTube sensation Mamrie Hart hosted. Snapchatter of the Year DJ Khaled was there. Baddie Winkle made an appearance. JiffPom accepted an award. Even Pizza Rat (okay, well, not the rat himself, but the creator of the gif) showed up.

Wondering what epic event could have brought all of these folks (and Instagram-famous animals...) together?

The Shorty Awards, of course.

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media by recognizing the influencers, brands and organizations on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and more.

The 8th Annual Shorty Awards, which took place in New York City last week, are put on by Sawhorse Media (the same parent company of Muck Rack). As the features editor of the Muck Rack blog (Wanna write for us? Lemme know!), I had the chance to attend the awards and live-tweet from the Muck Rack account

The Teal Carpet is the who's who of social media.

The star-studded night had many highlights, but as Muck Rack's features editor, a blogger and a full-time communications consultant, I took a look at the event through a public relations and journalism lens.

Here are three major takeaways:

1. Anyone can be a celebrity.

Want to become a celebrity? Now, you totally can.

While there were plenty of bonafide celebs at the show (DJ Khaled, anyone?!) and represented via video (Chris Rock, Katie Couric, etc.), the Shorty Awards honors the Internet-famous. The people who just 20, 15, 10 and even 5 years ago might never have made it big because they had no public platform.

Now, thanks to social media, we ALL have a platform and we all have the ability to spread our own messages. The next social media superstar might be living in a small town in the middle of the United States right now just doing their thing, not even knowing what's ahead. That person may even be you!

2. Pay attention! You never know what's coming next.

Just a few months ago, had you ever heard of YouNow?! I admit, I only learned about it just before the Shorty Awards. 

I love what Muck Rack (and the Shorty Awards) founder and CEO Greg Galant said at the show, "There's probably some kid right now coding a social media platform that nobody over 30 will understand, but will be absolutely huge in a year, and we'll have no choice but to honor. We're excited to see what's coming down the road." 

As PR professionals and journalists, we need to stay on top of trends. We can't dismiss new sites because they're only being used by teenagers. Like Gary Vaynerchuk preaches, we must be practicioners- we need to stay on top of new platforms, give them a try and understand them. This is our new media landscape!

3. The way we consume content/information/news has changed everything.

Well, duh. Of course, social media has changed the way we consume information, especially when it comes to news.

I think about the way I consumed the Shorty Awards content, too. On my train ride home from NYC back to Philly, I spent the commute watching the Shorty Awards Snapchat story and browsing the #ShortyAwards hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.

I admit, I only just turned to traditional news articles to write this very blog post. Up until now, I kept myself up-to-date on the Shorty Awards happenings solely through social media.

Brands and news organizations that are stuck counting page views and subscriber numbers need to change their tune and find new ways to reach their audiences where they're hanging out everyday.

Favorite Moment of the Night

When Katie Couric won the "Best Journalist" award (presented by Muck Rack!) and gave an epic acceptance speech, in which we found out that she's "not afraid to block your ass." Just watch the clip:

 

I also may have squealed in my seat when Katie Couric tweeted at Muck Rack and the Shorty Awards to thank us for the award!

Thanks @muckrack & @shortyawards & everyone who voted! ? https://t.co/wHyTgb7NDN

— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) April 12, 2016

Missed the Shorty Awards? Get caught up!

Did you attend the Shorty Awards this year? What did you think? Let us know on Twitter!

Photo via Shorty Awards Flickr account

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