NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Among the many events taking place across the city in celebration of Internet Week is the Webutante Ball, a shindig during which techie geeks and socially-savvy nerds alike gather in cocktail attire to schmooze and name the “Internet King and Queen.”
Now in its third year, the party will be held Tuesday evening at swanky Chelsea nightlife destination, Marquee.
Event organizer Richard Blakeley, editor-in-chief of Gawker.tv, suggests the party serves as a barometer of what’s going on in the Internet world.
“It’s very reflective,” Blakeley said. “Every year it’s kind of like a little snapshot of what’s going on in the New York tech scene.”
The 2011 Webutante Ball is sponsored by NYC startup Solvate, a resource which hooks up freelancers (a “huge thing right now, with the recession”) with jobs. And last year, the party was sponsored by then little-known company Groupon.
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“Before anyone knew what Groupon was, we had Groupon,” said Blakeley. “It’s a snapshot.”
Perhaps the largest focus of the night is to raise money for a New York City-based charity. With tickets for this year’s party selling out in less than eight hours, Blakeley and the Ball organizers have surpassed their goal of raising $25,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The Webutante Ball has come a long way since its inaugural celebration at the Empire Hotel three years ago (at which over 1,000 hopeful party-goers showed up – Blakeley was only expecting about 200).
“The reason I was so attracted to Internet Week in the first place is that there’s hardly any insight,” Blakeley said. “It’s based around the same principles that make the internet work: Be nice to people and do your own thing under a larger umbrella.”
And by the end of the night, a King and Queen are named – prom style, complete with a spotlight dance.
“There’s no committee, there’s no voting – usually I have people in mind,” Blakeley said of the selection process, admitting that he doesn’t even know who’s going to win the big honor when the party kicks off.
And what do the lucky winners get if they win?
“Just like with everything else in the Internet world, you get bragging rights,” Blakeley said with a laugh.
“What do you get for being on Facebook? You get to be on Facebook.”