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Facebook says I live in the Bay Area. Twitter boasts that I like puns and bad jokes (@The_PUNisher_SF), and then Reddit upvotes and says I LOVE puns and bad jokes. And this blog tells you about my experiences using social media sites and learning to fit them all together into my life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The 3rd Annual Streamy Awards

I just got caught up watching video clips from last week's Streamy Awards.  I didn't know an awards show existed for the internet, but that was foolish, there are awards for everything!

The Streamys are the first ever, envelope-opening live streamed award show.  They hand out awards for things like  "Best First Person Series", "Best Online Musician", and "Best DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Series".  Basically, it gives online personalities a chance to be recognized in their industry by their peers.

The show doesn't have a super high budget, but it's shot well and streamed online (duh).  This year's was hosted by Chris Hardwick, who is an actor I'm not really familiar with but he was pretty funny.  Vanilla Ice also performed, and there were random minor celebrities that I don't think have anything to do with the internet, but probably were offered a chance to present an award and figured why not (pretty sure I saw Ian Ziering presenting?).  David Hasselhoff had a pretty entertaining elevator video that featured some YouTube personalities (check it out here).

The cool thing is, watching the awards show really does prove that our culture is going through a major shift in how we receive content.  Most everyone at this awards show started out shooting videos in their living room, and are at the forefront of a new way of reaching people. When 4 YouTube personalities were introduced on stage, it said that "between them, they have 179 million views".   I'm sure Brad Pitt has more than that, but it's not measurable in quite the same way.  Those numbers are like gold in that world, because it's what makes corporate America's ears perk up.  Corporations are still figuring out how exactly to capitalize on that market, but they're definitely intrigued and this industry is shaping up to be something legitimate.  Even Hannah Hart (who won award for Best Female Performer, go Hannah!) has been able to capitalize on her success, raising over $200,000 for an international tour that she'll be doing later this year.  This industry is "anything goes" at this point, and the award show proves that it may not know what it is yet, but it's definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Chris Hardwick (the host) had a pretty interesting quote in his opening monologue:
"The confluence of creativity and inexpensive technology,  coupled with the ubiquity of broadband, have literally empowered everyone in the most significant pardigm shift since the Industrial Revolution."
He had some pretty cool other insights, like how much harder it is to create internet content than TV content, because theirs has to be shareable.  Like how unbelievably hard it is to create something that actually goes viral.  And as he explains that on the Internet, "content is king", he dropped the phrase "artistic meritocracy", which I really like (I think it helps define what is so great about Reddit).  Check out his monologue about this all here

I love the legitimacy that these awards give to the Interndustry, Industnet, Internet industry (dang #portmanteauFail).  I think it seems a little self-proclaiming but what awards show doesn't?  It is small now, but as these personalities get older and more successful and invite new ones into the fold, it seems like this will only grow and become more publicly viewed. 

This awards show could be proof that artistic meritocracy works, and the people in that room could be leading a new revolution that shapes our future to come.  Or it could prove that a group of Internet sensations might not amount to anything, especially if they're being rewarded for insolence.  In 2010, the Streamys lost their funding because of "technical problems and lewd jokes".  Either way, the fact that this field is getting recognition means that it is here to stay. The question becomes, how is it going to impact our world? Should we embrace it, or should we be afraid of it?


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