For something that is as endlessly expansive as the Internet, it may seem contradictory that it’s also all about keeping things short and sweet. That’s exactly why at the Webby Awards – which honors excellence on the Internet by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences — the recipients of their Slinky statues give acceptance speeches that are no longer than five words.
“One of the things that everybody hated about other awards shows is that you have these super talented people go up on stage and start thanking this long list of people that nobody’s ever heard of. It’s really boring,” says Webby Awards Executive Director David-Michel Davies. “[A five word acceptance speech] really challenges people to say something meaningful in a short way.”
This year, one of the Webby recipients will be Andrey Ternovskiy, founder of ChatRoulette, a website that pairs random users from around the world for video chats. Though the site’s innovation has been eclipsed by the way some users abuse the connections with seamy sexual advances, Davies says such a pattern is common for groundbreaking new media.
“Look at MySpace when it first came out — even Flickr or YouTube,” he says. “For site owners, it takes a process to figure out how to deal with this stuff. I love [ChatRoulette] because it just shows that even today, with 3 billion people on the Web, a 17-year-old kid in Russia can start something that can totally explode.”