In the last century, communicating took time. Television pitch men would carefully explain the advantages and features of the products they were endorsing, the news was tossed onto your front doorstep, and catching up with friends and family usually involved pen, paper and a mailbox. In today’s digital age, that contemplative approach to creative communications has been replaced by something much faster ─ and shorter. Hence, the Shorty Awards.
The industry equivalent to the Oscars, the Shorty Awards celebrate the innovative use of all forms of social media and acknowledges the efforts of companies, celebrities and even governments for excellence in the short form. Previous Shorty winners have included social media users ranging from NASA to Conan O’Brien and Sesame Street’s Grover.
This year, Barnes & Noble College is celebrating the deep connections that its campus partners are building every day by presenting a key new category at the Shorty Awards – Most Social College. “We’re really excited about being a part of the Shorty’s for the first time,” explains Barnes & Noble College’s Consumer and New Media Marketing Manager, Tamara Vostok. “And our award for the Most Social College or University provides a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing efforts of our campus partners to use social media to connect with their campus communities.”
As the industry leader in social media strategies, it’s especially fitting that Barnes & Noble College would recognize the creative efforts of its college and university partners in the field of social media. Ninety-eight percent of colleges and universities are now using it in widely innovative and different ways to connect to students, alumni, faculty and parents. “Every one of our schools is on Facebook – and several of them are using multiple social media components, from Instagram to YouTube to blogging – so these campuses are really recognizing how their students want to communicate,” Vostok says.
To help encourage participation, Barnes & Noble College has offered a digital toolkit on its website to spread the word about the Shorty Awards and help get the vote out. “Recognizing our colleges in a forum like the Shorty Awards is especially significant for us because our students are not a generation that gets their news from television,” Vostok points out. “Our campuses are really in the forefront of leveraging social media and communicating in a way that fits the campus lifestyle.”
Social media also provides schools with the opportunity to attach a more distinctive voice to their college or university and creates a stronger and more immediate dialogue between students, campus leaders and faculty. Vostok also notes that short-form messaging such as Twitter is even being used as a means for presenting questions in some large lecture halls. Certainly, the Shorty Awards themselves have contributed to the social media excitement on campus. Some 173 schools are currently participating in the competition and viral campaigns around the awards are springing up nationwide. The excitement has even caught the attention of traditional media, with Fox and NBC news channels covering their local colleges’ Shorty nominations.
The Shorty Awards winning entries will be chosen by judges from the social media industry and presenters from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show will help host the awards with a live event in New York’s Times Square in April. “We are the leaders in this space,” Vostok points out, “and we want to highlight not only the importance of social media, but to also recognize and celebrate the hard work of our colleges and universities who are using it so effectively.”
To view just some of this year’s Shorty Award entries, please click on the links below.