Last night I was getting ready to leave the office and go home when my colleagues Doug MacMillan and Arik Hesseldahl asked me if I wanted to go with them to the Shorty Awards.
“The hooty-hoos,” I said, having no clue what they were talking about.
“It’s the first award show for Twitter people,” said Doug.
Doug and I schlepped out to Brooklyn. When we walked up to the bar, there was a line of about 50 people snaking down the block. That was a shock. People will do anything to promote themselves–especially in a recession.
I won’t bore you with a recount of the evening other than to say, it was not as bad as I expected it to be. The biggest surprise was that the sponsors of the event shrewdly got some mainstream media organizations to sponsor it and buy in. CNN anchor and Twitter-lover Rick Sanchez was the host, MC Hammer made an appearance to promote his online venture and the Knight Foundation actually sponsored the event.
I also got to meet Howard Lindzon, a hedge fund manager who co-founded Wallstrip. I’ve been following Howard’s Twitter posts and enjoying them. He pulls no punches. Howard is actually trying to build a business on Twitter, using the messaging service as a sort of virtual order flow system where people can eavesdrop on what stock traders are buying and selling. The name of the company is stocktwits.
Howard made an interesting point when he told me that the first Blackberry devices took off because brokers and traders would message their friends with their trade orders when their internal networks went down. Now he is trying to revive that idea via Twitter.
The irony is that even thought Twitter has yet to figure out a way to generate revenue from its growing popularity, entrepreneurs like Howard are trying to build a business on it. Howard told me he is going to start charging a monthly subscription fee to get some sort of premium access to this info.
But on the whole the idea of giving out awards to the best twitterers is kind of absurd and reductive. What’s next?
Best Status Updater?
Best Text Messager?
Best Instant Messenger?
What silly award show would you like to start?