How the Shorty Awards Work

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media, by recognizing the people and organizations producing real-time short form content on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, and the rest of the social Web.

The nomination period is January 3, 2012 through February 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST on Twitter and and culminates in a New York City awards ceremony this spring.

How to Make Nominations

  • To make a nomination, fill out the nomination form at or send a tweet like this: I nominate @TwitterUser for a Shorty Award in #category because... [must add reason here].
  • You can also tweet shorter nominations like this: #shortyawards @username #category [must add reason here].
  • Be as creative with the reason. A tweet without a reason for the nomination will not be counted.
  • The nomination must be relevant to the category.
  • Vote for as many different people as you want, in as many categories as you want, as often as you want.
  • Only one nominee and one category per tweet.
  • ReTweets (RTs) are eligible provided the account and nomination meets all the other requirements.
  • Voting for the same person in the same category more than once simply replaces the text of your original vote; it does not count as an additional vote.
  • You can vote in any of the featured categories or create a community category. If a community category becomes popular and has enough compelling finalists, it could become a featured category.
  • Nominees and potential nominees (everyone on earth) are welcome to campaign and encourage friends to vote for them. Nominees are encouraged to take the Shorty Interview and embed campaign videos to help both voters and members of the Academy get to know them.
  • If you change your Twitter username, any votes you received under your old user name won't carry over.
  • If you or your organization controls multiple Twitter accounts. you can only campaign or become a finalist under one of them for a given category. The Shorty Awards team may remove, recategorize, or disquality nominees that show evidence of campaigning under multiple affiliated accounts.
  • Nominees can delete any nomination received by logging into the Shorty Awards profile page and clicking the "delete" link next to that nomination.
  • Nominations in certain Special Awards categories may have special instructions. Read each Special Award page to find out how to make nominations in one of those categories. Please note that there may also be exceptions to the rules for certain featured categories that supercede the general Shorty Awards rules.
  • The Shorty Awards use several algorithms to automatically disqualify nomination activity that appears to be intended to game the system. We also perform periodic audits to check if our system is being gamed. Contact us if you see any suspicious activity.
  • Nominators must be active Twitter users prior to the start of the competition. Votes originating from new Twitter accounts or accounts used mainly for Shorty Awards voting will automatically be disqualified and will not count toward the rankings.
  • We reserve the right to disqualify nominees that do any of the following: violate trademarks, infringe copyrights, impersonate others (except in the #fakeaccount category, where this is encouraged), invade privacy, make threats of violence, promote illegal activities, promote pornography, spam others, use bots, scripts or other automated means for voting, engage in abusive behavior, promise anything of value in exchange for a nomination, or otherwise violate the friendly spirit of the awards.

Winner Selection

To keep up with the growth of the social Web and honor the best content producers, we have made exciting changes to the way Shorty Awards winner selection works. You now have more power than ever before to recognize your favorites.

In addition to the traditional Shorty Awards that are selected from the finalists by the Real-Time Academy, we are introducing the Shorty Vox Populi distinction. The person or organization that receives the most nominations in any featured category is a Shorty Vox Populi.

When the nominations close in February, several of the featured categories will be chosen to be presented to the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences. In these chosen categories, one of the six finalists will be declared a Shorty Award winner at the annual awards ceremony in New York City, complete with 140-character acceptance speeches.

Nominees must submit contact information online here so award organizers can contact them if they become a finalist.

Here are the full details:

Nomination Period

  • Anyone with a valid, active, and public Twitter account can nominate any Twitter user for a Shorty Award in any category.
  • The nomination period closes on February 17, 2012, except in specific categories where a later closing date is noted.

Category Types

  • To reflect the growth of the social Web, the 4th Annual Shorty Awards will have dozens of featured categories.
  • Featured categories that do not generate enough relevant candidates or result in enough interest may be eliminated with no Shorty Vox Populi declared.
  • You can vote in any of the featured categories or create and submit a community category.
  • If a new community category becomes popular and has enough compelling nominees, it could become a featured category.

The Shorty Vox Populi

  • The six nominees with the highest rank in each of the featured categories at the end of the nomination period are the Shorty Awards finalists in that category.
  • In case of a tie, all of the nominees who tied will be included as finalists.
  • The finalist with the most nominations will receive the Shorty Vox Populi distinction.
  • In case of a tie, both finalists will become Shorty Vox Populi.


  • In February, several of the most exciting featured categories will be presented to the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences.
  • Members of the Academy will carefully review the finalists' social media content, Shorty Interview answers if relevant, and then fill out an anonymous survey with their choices for Shorty Award winners. Academy members are not allowed to vote on categories in which they are finalists or have a conflict of interest.
  • To determine the Shorty Award winners, the Academy use their own judgment and take into account the number and quality of nominations each finalist received.

Shorty Awards Ceremony

  • An awards ceremony will be held in New York City to honor the Shorty Award winners from the categories that were presented to the Real-Time Academy.
  • Because the Shorty Awards ceremony must be short (naturally!), not all of the categories will be presented onstage. However, all finalists will be honored online and encouraged to attend the ceremony to #humblebrag about their achievements.
  • A limited number of tickets will be available to the public. Sign up for the Shorty Awards mailing list to go to the head of the line.
  • To learn more about the ceremony, check out our videos from last year.

Auditing and Rankings

  • The Shorty Awards use several algorithms to automatically disqualify nomination activity intended to game the system or from irregular accounts. The Shorty Awards team also performs human reviews of the votes. A final vote audit occurs after each voting round ends.
  • Irregular accounts include ones that use bots, scripts, issue repetitive automatic votes, appear to have been created specifically for Shorty Awards voting, or exhibit other behavior that violates the spirit of the awards. We encourage users to report any suspicious activity to [email protected].
  • Automated prompting of votes within a web or mobile app (e.g. a box prompting users with a prefilled tweet) is permitted so long as the nomination is optional and encourages the nominator to write a unique reason for the nomination.
  • Vote counts and rankings may fluctuate as audits are performed and votes are removed that do not comply with the official voting rules.
  • If a person controls multiple Twitter accounts, nominations can only be made from one of the accounts.
  • Votes that are incorrectly formatted, do not include a reason for the vote, or appear to be identical votes automatically generated en masse might appear on the Shorty Awards site but will not be counted for final rankings. Nominees who notice these kinds of votes should encourage supporters to resubmit those votes in the correct format.
  • Nominations that are not relevant within featured categories will be removed, or moved to a more relevant category, at the discretion of the Shorty Awards officials. Click on the category names to get the descriptions.
  • All decisions relating to vote counts and categorization are made at the discretion of Shorty Awards officials and are final.

Industry Awards

The Shorty Industry Awards recognize agencies, brands, and industry leaders who create social media content professionally. The nomination process, eligibility, and rules for the Industry Awards are different from the general awards categories and are described in detail here.


All information submitted through the Shorty Awards is subject to our privacy policy. To review our privacy policy click here.

Administrator; Release; Limitation of Liability

The Shorty Awards are administered by Sawhorse Media, LLC (“Sawhorse”), which will be entitled to make all final decisions regarding the awards in its sole discretion.

Sawhorse reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to suspend or cancel the Shorty Awards at any time. By participating in the Shorty Awards, whether as a nominee, a voter or otherwise, each participant agrees to release and hold Sawhorse and its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, consultants and legal advisors, harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with the awards, including, without limitation, personal injury, death, and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy.


User Submissions; Appearance Release

Any and all content submitted by a voter, a nominee or any other participant in the Shorty Awards is referred to in these Terms of Service as a "User Submission." Each participant shall be solely responsible for his or her own User Submissions and the consequences of submitting them. By submitting a User Submission, the participant represents and warrants that he or she owns or has the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to his or her User Submissions (and all content included therein), including the right to authorize Sawhorse to use the User Submissions in the manner contemplated herein. By submitting the User Submissions to us for public display, the participant hereby grants us an irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in any media formats now or hereafter created and through any media channels now or hereafter created.

In addition, any person who attends the awards ceremony or any other event associated with the Shorty Awards hereby grants us the irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable right to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform any photographs, video or other images in which such person may be included that are taken at such event, whether accurate or distorted in character or form, without restrictions to changes or transformations, in conjunction with such person’s own name or a fictitious name at our discretion, or no name at all.

The use of any trademark, service mark or logo of Twitter, YouTube or any other media outlet is not meant to imply such media outlet’s endorsement of, or affiliation, with The Shorty Awards in any way.