Science Gallery picks up Shorty at Oscars of Twittersphere

29 Mar 2011

Dublin’s Science Gallery has won a Shorty Award for Cultural Institution at the celeb-studded Shorty Awards in New York last night.

Held at New York’s Times Centre – complete with 140-character acceptance speeches – and hosted by The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, the awards were presented by a number of stars including actors Kiefer Sutherland and Jerry Stiller, and Miss USA. Other winners included Mythbusters, Conan O’Brien and Sesame Street.

The Annual Shorty Awards honour the best people and organisations on Twitter and social media, and are determined by a combination of popular vote and by the members of the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, where members include former rapper MC Hammer, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Science Gallery accepted the award with the following speech: “140 chars? A googolplexian characters couldn’t convey our gratitude. Thanks 4 making @ScienceGallery the place where art & science collide.”

People who nominated Science Gallery include comedian and member of Science Gallery’s Leonardo group Dara Ó Briain, who said, “I nominate @ScienceGallery for a Shorty Award in #culturalinstitution because it’s the smartest Science museum I know.”

The power of Twitter

Commenting on the win, Science Gallery’s events and community manager Ian Brunswick, said, “With over 5,000 followers on Twitter, Science Gallery reaches out well beyond the walls of the gallery – it allows us to continue the conversation about what is happening in Science Gallery, in the world of science and art, and it helps us draw inspiration and ideas from our community on Twitter.

“A big thank you goes to everyone who took the time to nominate us for this award. And Kanye West – if you’re watching – this is one award that shouldn’t have gone to Beyonce.”

Speaking about the Science Gallery’s use of social media, its director, Michael John Gorman, said, “Cultural institutions now use new tools for listening to their communities. We have been blown away by the power of Twitter to allow us to respond to ideas and the suggestions from our followers.

“In fact, one of Science Gallery’s most popular events – TEDxDUBLIN – came about following a comment on Twitter. Within two weeks, the speaker lineup was finalised and all the tickets were snapped up in just over 10 minutes, showing just how nimble we can be when we are using social media,” Gorman added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years