Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Haiti efforts backed for Twitter Oscars

By Barry Neild, CNN
The Shorty Awards are Twitter's equivalent of the Oscars.
The Shorty Awards are Twitter's equivalent of the Oscars.
  • Momentum building ahead of second Shorty Awards ceremony
  • Awards celebrate the best of micro-blogging site Twitter
  • People behind Haiti relief efforts among leading nominees

(CNN) -- In the thick of awards season, there is at least one prize ceremony where the speeches are guaranteed not to over run -- the Twitter Oscars.

Momentum is building for the second annual ceremony, known as the Shorty Awards, which celebrate outstanding use of the popular site that restricts users to a strict maximum of 140 characters.

But while last year's -- hosted by CNN's Rick Sanchez -- saw somewhat frivolous use of the micro-blogging service championed, 2010 is expected to give more significant recognition to the role it has played in helping the earthquake-stricken people of Haiti.

See full list of 2009's Shorty Award winners

With public nominations for the Shorties currently open ahead of the March ceremony, support is gathering behind organizations and individuals which have utilized Twitter to highlight issues in Haiti and speed aid and assistance.

Among them is Haiti resident and TV presenter Carel Pedre, who has so far received a total of 163 nominations in five categories for a Twitter site that has become a virtual clearing house for aid agencies and those seeking urgent help.

Pedre's efforts have seen him climb to the number five slot in the #innovation category, where he is the standout candidate alongside a handful of social networking experts and Betty Draper, the fictional dysfunctional housewife from television series "Mad Men."

See Pedre's iReports, some of the first images from Haiti

Fictional stars, particularly those from "Mad Men" are no stranger to the Shorty Awards. Peggy Olsen, the show's sociopath secretary-turned-copywriter, was one of the standout winners in 2009, triumphing in the #advertising category.

But with sponsorship from the prestigious Knight Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism, and categories including news, government, education and art, they have a serious edge.

"The Shorty Awards honor the best people and organizations on Twitter. These unique awards are for the Twitter community, by the Twitter community." the scheme's Web site declares.

Anyone with an active public Twitter account can nominate, vote and campaign for users, but the most popular nominees in each category must pass scrutiny by the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences.

The newly-formed body, which includes MIT Media Lab's director Frank Moss, "Charmed" star Alyssa Milano and entertainer MC Hammer, will select who goes forward to the New York award ceremony in March.

Part of complete coverage on
Haitians cope with wretched memories
They filled the grounds in front of the collapsed cathedral in Haiti's capital Wednesday. To remember. To cope. To pray.
Why U.S. aid workers refuse to give up
Can-Do founder Eric Klein spent most of 2010 in Haiti helping people recover from the devastating earthquake.
Haiti adoption; a new chance
What kind of parents would put their children in an orphanage?
Review of vote completed
A much-awaited review of Haiti's disputed presidential election has been completed but not yet been handed over to the president.
20,000 new jobs promised
Haiti's economy is getting a boost thanks to a venture with one of Korea's largest companies that promises to bring in 20,000 jobs.
Baby reunited with doctor
Nadine Devilme has thanked God countless times for saving her baby and has wanted to thank the doctor who treated the child after the earthquake.
To recover, Haiti needs leaders
What Haiti needs now is leadership from its sovereign government.
Bitter, displaced, Haitians wait in limbo
Amy Wilentz says a year after the earthquake, much of the funding to rebuild is stalled as aid organizations wait for the election crisis to be resolved.