NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) ― It’s the five-word speech that both captured and wrapped up the awesomeness of the geek-meets-chic week otherwise known as Internet Week New York, a creative synthesis of panels, conferences, launches, and cocktail schmoozers that doesn’t get much mainstream mention, but perhaps as those five words predict, soon will.
Internet Week, now in its third year, came to a close Monday night at Cipriani’s on Wall Street with a decently star-studded celebration of the very best and brightest behind the online world at the annual Webby Awards.
Hosted by funnyman BJ Novak (The Office), the Webbys, now in its fourteenth year, was like a watered-down version of the MTV Movie Awards.
There’s no competition for attention among the honorees that make certain Hollywood award ceremonies the circus acts we see today. Instead, there’s a sort of joie de vivre, an inspiring burst of intellectual excitement, that triumphed around the room among the hundreds of brilliantly creative minds seated at table after table.
Even Novak admitted he was amped to be speaking to the electronically elite.
“I’ve never even hosted a party, so I’m very excited to be hosting something with so many people that are not the celebrities, but the visionaries, leaders, writers, programmers and advertisers,” Novak told WCBSTV.com.
David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards and The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, said the ceremony speaks to the diversity of today’s digital mediums.
“It’s just so much fun and we really have a great time trying to really reflect what’s happening with the Internet at the show and in a live environment, and it’s an amazing crowd of people,” he told WCBSTV.com
With a Twitteresque tinge to it, winners are allowed just five words for acceptance speeches, and style points seem to be awarded for the overtly silly or salacious.
The five word cliché that started this article? Those words were the acceptance speech of the man who made it possible for you to connect to this site and read this piece, and, for the most part these days, do just about everything else your life entails, whether directly or indirectly.
You might not know Vinton Cerf if you saw him on the street, but at the very least, you owe him some gesture of gratitude. Widely considered the “Father of the Internet,” Cerf took this year’s Lifetime Achievement honors, and deservedly so.
Cerf, for all intents and purposes, orchestrated what we now know as the “Internet” today.
Incredibly, his name doesn’t seem to ring a bell among the masses. How is this possible? He’s the Internet’s dad! How much closer to divinity can one get?
Which made it all the more shameful when Cerf’s stroll along the Webby red carpet received far less hysteria from the media mass than the A-listers who attended the event.
Such red carpet walkers included Lisa Kudrow; Jason Bateman; a very pregnant Amy Poehler and hubby Will Arnett; Roger Ebert; Ben Folds; Arianna Huffington; Jimmy Fallon; Buzz Aldrin; and even the Aflac duck, appropriately escorted by Gilbert Gottfried.
So where does the Webby compare to the other accolades these stars have received over the years?
“I think it’s really good. I don’t think I got as much attention from agents or younger people as when, to now say I won a Webby and I get so many e-mails and they say, ‘Oh my God!’ and they get frantic. It’s a big deal,” Kudrow told WCBSTV.com.
Of course, if Cerf’s speech holds true, then the Webbys should one day be as prominent as the Oscars, Grammys, Tonys, and Golden Globes.
And Internet Week, at that point, should be one of the hottest tickets in the world. This year nearly 200 events were held.
“The success of the week is really just a reflection of how much energy and enthusiasm there is for this industry, and how that’s grown in the last year,” said Davies. “It is really exploding.”
And apparently, somehow, that explosion is just a byte of what’s to come.
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