Will RubyLearning be present at the Shorty Awards Acceptance Ceremony?

The votes have been cast and the Shorty Awards have come to an end. The official results are in, and RubyLearning is a winner of the Shorty Award in the education category. RubyLearning represented by its nearly 7000 participants from over 140 countries are delighted and so am I.

Winner in Education category at Shorty

For those of you unfamiliar with The Shorty Awards, they have been given to “the best producers of short content in 2008.” And by short content, they mean 140 characters or less. In other words, these are the Twitter awards.

What does Rubylearning get as a Shorty Award winner? Aside from glory, apparently a \$1000 grant to travel to Brooklyn to attend the awards ceremony. The award ceremony will be streamed online, posted to YouTube, and photographed / videotaped by various media outlets. Additionally, 3 favorite Shorty Awards nominations or votes tweeted by RubyLearning’s followers will be projected onto a screen behind me when I (representing RubyLearning) appear on stage to give a 140 character acceptance speech. In addition, RubyLearning will receive an awards plaque and a gift bag.

Though RubyLearning won, it only received 275 official votes, and I (for RubyLearning) shamelessly asked my 1000 or so Twitter followers and 7000 RubyLearning participants to vote for me on several occasions. Only 3.4% of my own followers thought RubyLearning deserved to win or made the effort to vote.

McAWilliams in his blog post says that “*I think the idea of the awards themselves is an excellent idea but the system has a few flaws*“. I agree. He mentions these flaws:

  • The voting system should not be based on just being a popularity contest
  • Secondly people nominate tweeters in what ever category they feel they should be in – Rubylearning was also nominated in “humor”
  • The idea of pre-populated tweets where you can provide a simple url that brings you to your twitter webpage and has a tweet pre-filled for you, is wrong

So will RubyLearning be present at the Shorty Awards Acceptance Ceremony?

I would have loved to be there but some of the reasons I won’t, are:

  • The \$1000 grant to travel to Brooklyn, New York does not cover my US\$ 1750 (roughly) cost of traveling to New York from Pune, India where I reside. Shorty Awards probably did not realize that someone from outside of USA could win in one of their 26 official categories! Update: Shorty Awards wrote back saying that “*some winners from Russia and Australia are attending the award ceremony*“. I wonder who these twitterers are?
  • Shorty Awards gave the winners only 14 days to make their travel arrangements. The time is too short for international winners, like me. All the tickets from Mumbai to New York on most airlines are already booked. Update: Shorty Awards wrote back saying that “this is the award’s first year, and there are bound to be hiccups. We’ll take this situation into account for next year, and try to give winners more time to make travel arrangements to the ceremony.”
  • In a lighter vein, it’s freezing out there in New York. Pune is a comfortable 86^o^ F.

What Shorty Awards should seriously consider is that:

  • it’s giving out \$1,000 travel grants so that winners (the actual people Twittering) can attend the event, so it can only be used by winners who actually attend. (Not by proxies or winners who don’t attend). This is incorrect. All award ceremonies allow proxies to collect an award for a winner, in case the winner can’t attend – why not at Shorty Awards? Update: Shorty Awards clarified that “*the \$1000 is not an ‘award’, it is a ‘travel grant’, and therefore can only be claimed by winners traveling to the ceremony.*“
  • if a winner can’t be present at the awards ceremony, Shorty Awards should courier the winners’ awards plaque and gift bag. Update: Shorty Awards clarified that “they would mail the award plaque if a winner could not make it to the awards ceremony.”


On a positive note, RubyLearning’s follower count increased dramatically and many of these people have started to converse with me regularly and I know will become good net friends! So many new ideas got discussed and all of this is good for Ruby. Even at this late stage, some of my RubyLearning participants want to start a donation drive to collect funds so that I can travel to New York – very sweet of them. Friends, why collect and waste money on my trip to New York. Instead, do donate and collect money for RubyLearning so that I can continue maintaining the RubyLearning sites and provide quality content to you. Game?

Anyway, thank you all so much for voting for RubyLearning. Almost all of your 140 character ballots expressing why RubyLearning deserved to win the award were terrific. Here are some of my favorites:

  • @DrGreene: I vote for @RubyLearning in the Shorty Awards Finals for #education because he makes learning programming fun.
  • @TinaShang: I vote for @RubyLearning in the Shorty Awards Finals for #education because…Knowledge is power and he is giving it away free!
  • @hectorsq: I vote for @RubyLearning in category #education because it really helps to spread Ruby all around the world,
  • @mjuneja: I vote for @RubyLearning in category #education because it makes Ruby learning fun & easy & makes famous Rubyists accessible.
  • @Melindhra: I vote for @RubyLearning in the Shorty Awards Finals for #education because it’s the best online learning community I’ve seen.

Acceptance Speech: RubyLearning sent a video of its acceptance speech to Shorty Awards for the 11th Feb. award ceremony in New York. (Unfortunately, no longer available.)

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