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June 11 2011

November 10 2010

5 Captivating Personalities From Across the Social Web [Mashable Awards]

Mashable Awards Image

As part of the ongoing Mashable Awards, we’re taking a closer look at each of the nomination categories. This is “Must-Follow Personality.” Be sure to nominate your favorites and join us for the Gala in Las Vegas! Sponsorships are available. Please contact sponsorships@mashable.com for more information.

personality imageIn a world where social media and pop culture collide, 2009 might’ve been most remembered for a certain race to 1 million followers. While 2010 has had its share of popularity contests too, we’ve also seen a myriad of innovative uses of digital media that have both catapulted some previously unknowns to “must follow” status and re-invented the careers of others.

Whether it was playing a key role in shaping the news, creating online personas that went viral and became much more, or using the Internet to connect with fans in new ways, several personalities stood out in terms of leveraging social media in irresistibly catchy ways.

Below, we take a look at some of those people who have made a major splash in the online world in the past year.


1. Ben Folds


While it looks like Chatroulette’s 15 minutes of fame might be up, no one was a bigger part of that 15 minutes than musician Ben Folds.

What started with the singer-songwriter broadcasting improv piano tunes from his concerts onto the random video chat site quickly became an Internet meme, especially after the “chatroulette improv piano guy” named Merton emerged.

Because Merton rather closely resembled Folds, speculation ran rampant that the two were actually the same guy. Numerous YouTube videos — some of them originating here on Mashable — added fuel to the fire, though the fable was ultimately disproved once and for all (we think) in a video that the two created together last month.

What started as a clever play on a pop culture phenomenon ultimately became a blueprint for sustaining social media buzz.


2. Conan O’Brien


When Conan O’Brien took over as host of The Tonight Show in mid-2009, one of his first sketches poked fun at Twitter for its banality. Little did he know at the time that mere months later, he’d become the center of a massive user-created digital movement (“Team Coco”) as NBC pivoted to shift Tonight Show hosting responsibilities back to Jay Leno.

Following his ouster, Conan quickly moved to capitalize on his Internet momentum, establishing a Twitter account that would serve as his comedic outlet while he sorted out his next career move, which he ultimately decided would be a new show on TBS.

Whereas Conan’s Tonight Show played the traditional willfully ignorant-of-technology card, Conan’s new show has made social media the centerpiece of a campaign to try and get the masses to shift their late night viewing habits to cable. As a result, we’ll soon find out if digital loyalty translates to television ratings.


3. BPGlobalPR


This year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was one of the biggest environmental catastrophes in recent times, and the company’s much-maligned handling of it had some speculating that bankruptcy might be imminent for the petroleum giant.

Providing comic relief through the whole ordeal, however, was @BPGlobalPR, a satirical Twitter account pretending to be BP’s public relations department. With updates like “Sadly we can no longer certify our oil as Dolphin Safe,” the account quickly amassed tens of thousands of followers.

As for his inspiration, the man behind the account, “Terry,” told Mashable in an interview that “They pay people like me a TON of money to make it look like they’re doing stuff, but really we don’t have to do much except talk. Our talking buys them time to figure out how they are going to sweep it all under the rug and go back to making lots of money.”

While BP eventually closed the oil leak and activity on the @BPGlobalPR account has slowed, the feed served the dual role of both entertaining and reminding the world that BP was not doing a very good job at either closing the leak or communicating effectively with the public.


4. Dan Savage


In recent months, one of the most prominent social issues in America has been the bullying of gay teenagers. In response, sex advice columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage launched the “Its Get Better” YouTube channel, where everyday people have uploaded hundreds of videos providing encouragement and inspiration to gay teens, telling them they have much to look forward to.

It didn’t take long for the channel to go viral with openly gay celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres contributing video messages. Within about a month of launching, the channel attracted a video from President Obama broadcasting the “It Gets Better” message.

The campaign has been nothing short of inspiring, and we will be following Savage to see how he uses his various social media channels –- which also include a popular blog, Twitter feed, and podcast –- to raise awareness for important LGBT issues going forward.


5. Darren Rovell


It’s been a spectacular year for stories about the business of sports, and sitting at the center of it has been CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell.

There was simply no better feed to follow on Twitter than Rovell’s as the world of Tiger Woods came crashing down following a car-accident-turned-sex-scandal turned tens of millions of dollars in lost endorsement deals.

Then, when LeBron James made the universally mocked decision of broadcasting “The Decision” on ESPN, Rovell again was the point man for assessing brand and consumer response as one of the world’s most highly paid and previously admired athletes suddenly became one of the sporting world’s biggest villains.

In between, Rovell’s Twitter feed and blog has broken news on everything from TV ratings to jersey sales to free agency moves. To an extent, he’s also made the business of reporting on sports sexy, as evidenced by some of the competitors he’s now attracting.


What’s Your Take?


Which personalities do you follow via social media? Let us know in the comments or nominate them for the Mashable Awards.


The Mashable Awards Gala at Cirque du Soleil Zumanity (Vegas)


In partnership with Cirque du Soleil, The Mashable Awards Gala event will bring together the winners and nominees, the Mashable community, partners, media, the marketing community, consumer electronics and technology brands and attendees from the 2011 International CES Convention to Las Vegas on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Together, we will celebrate the winners and the community of the Mashable Awards at the Cirque du Soleil Zumanity stage in the beautiful New York New York Hotel. The event will include acts and performances from our partner Cirque du Soleil Zumanity. In addition, there will be special guest presenters and appearances.

Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011 (during International CES Convention week)
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 pm PT
Location: Cirque du Soleil Zumanity, New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas
Agenda: Networking, Open Bars, Acts, Surprises and the Mashable Awards Gala presentations
Socialize: Facebook, Foursquare, Meetup, Plancast, Twitter (Hashtag: #MashableAwards)

Sponsorships are available. Please contact sponsorships@mashable.com for more information.

Register for Mashable Awards Gala at Cirque du Soleil Zumanity stage (Las Vegas - 2011 International CES convention) [Ticketed Event] in Las Vegas, NV  on Eventbrite

Thanks to our sponsors:

Mashable Awards Gala Partner:

cirque logo From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a global entertainment organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has over 5,000 employees, including more than 1,200 artists from close to 50 different countries.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to nearly 100 million spectators in 300 cities on five continents. In 2010 Cirque du Soleil, will present 21 shows simultaneously throughout the world, including seven in Las Vegas.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com

Mashable Awards Online Partner:

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Mashable Awards Partner:

Join us at the 2011 International CES®, the global platform for inspired ideas and innovation. With 2,500 exhibitors, CES continues to be the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow and always reflects the dynamic consumer electronics industry. The International CES is not open to the general public and all attendees must be in the CE industry to be eligible to attend the show. Register FREE for the 2011 CES with priority code MSHB, an exclusive promotion for Mashable Readers.

Mashable Awards Category Sponsor:

About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

Mashable Awards Gala Silver Sponsor:

Aro Mobile is an intelligent mobile experience that includes better email, connected contacts, smarter calendar and improved browsing.

The Aro system automatically learns what’s important in your life—the people, places, dates and organizations you care about most. In your communications, Aro automatically identifies people, places, events, dates,organizations and locations. From any recognized term, Aro offers quick action menus to speed up your day.

The unique Aro experience is powered by advanced web services: next generation natural language processing and semantic data analytics services. Aro gives you the power to see through the clutter and focus your mobile life.

About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

Mashable Awards Gala VIP Lounge sponsor:

Influxis image

Influxis specializes in the deployment of creative streaming solutions. Services include large scale deployment, mobile streaming, turn-key applications, and enterprise support with custom network options. With the unique combination of a worldwide network, knowledgeable developer support and nearly a decade of streaming media experience, Influxis is an essential partner to businesses, advertisers, developers, educators, and others who seek expertise in innovative streaming.

Mashable Awards After Party Sponsor:

About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, jgroup

More About: ben folds, bp, BPGlobalPR, celebrities, celebrity, conan o'brien, dan savage, darren rovell, internet celebrities, List, Lists, mashable awards, mashable awards 2010, personality

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