Winning the Internet with a Webby Award

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The morning I discovered this email in my Inbox was one of the very best days of my professional career.

We won a Webby Award. It’s the Oscars of the Web. The Internet’s Pulitzer. The work my team had done with CSU Professor Temple Grandin on Reddit was crowned among the best in world. What an extraordinary honor.

Webby Awards

The Webby Award was meaningful for several reasons.

1. Teamwork makes the dream work. The entire Social and Digital Media team with support from our friends in the College of Agricultural Sciences made the Temple Grandin Reddit AMA happen. Read about how we did it here.

CSU Social Media Team with Dr. Temple Grandin2. Temple Grandin is a luminary and it was a great privilege to support her work.

3. We were in shock that we actually won. We were in shock that we were named one of five finalists worldwide in our category. We knew that what we accomplished with Dr. Grandin was special. We knew we made an impact. But wow. To be designated as “winning the Internet” was HUGE. I am still in awe.

Temple Grandin and CSU Webby Winners4. Cherry-on -top moment came when we entered the elite circle of Webby winners and named among the Webby Fifty. “The Webby Fifty embody what it means to fly beyond expectations – overcoming personal and technical challenges to create something special.” We had the opportunity to tell the story behind our Temple Grandin entry and share our “breakthrough moments where diligence and inspiration collide to create something extraordinary.”

What I learned from about being among the best of the Internet

1. Just do it. If you struck gold with a social media campaign, don’t be shy about putting it up against worldwide brands. When we set out to host the Reddit AMA with Dr. Grandin we had no idea that it would be Webby-worthy. But when we saw what it had accomplished, we decided to take a chance and enter the Webby Awards.

2. The slickest-looking campaigns don’t always win. When we looked at our formidable competition in the Education and Discovery category, we were simply grateful that we were in their company. We thought for sure the American Museum of Natural History’s Instagram account would win or perhaps SEEK Learning for a creative entry. Quite frankly, our entry wasn’t terrible attractive looking. Reddit is not known for its superior web design but at the end of the day, the actual work that we did is what mattered most. #Swoon! We were able to connect Temple Grandin with a worldwide audience that would not have had a chance to interact with her so directly.

3. That Webby Awards NYC Experience. I give major props to the Webby Awards for hosting a spectacular experience. They truly go above and beyond to emphasize what an honor it is to be a Webby Award winner. Seriously, they treat winners like Web royalty. From a rooftop networking session, to a star-studded award ceremony, to a rocking after party, the Webbys sure know how to treat their winners like Internet sensations. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Jen Smith and Kimberly Stern at the Webbys4. Five little words can make a big impact. So, the Webbys are known for thing called the 5-Word Acceptance Speech. All winners have the opportunity to record a five-word statement for their acceptance speech. It’s just five words. Jimmy Fallon had a good one. Gulp. Our 5-Word Speech was a hit and selected as the one of 20 to be featured on the big screens during the award ceremony. I’m terribly embarrassed to even post this, but you can see me delivering our 5-Word Speech. #blushingsohardrightnow

5 Word Speech5. Rubbing elbows with FLOTUS. Kinda. As nerdy as this may be, it was definitely cool seeing the star power associated with the Webbys. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dave Grohl from the Foo Footers were some of the notable celebs hanging with the Webbys this year.

6. Winning a Webby puts CSU social media on the map. Colorado State social media is right up there with Mashable, Buzzfeed, The New Yorker, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The New Yorker, Apple and Grumpy Cat. THE Grumpy Cat.  And it feels good. Real good.

Kimberly Stern and 5 Word Speech

I’m incredibly proud and humbled to work with such an amazing team. Big-time shoutout to Chase Baker, Lindsay Connors, Jason Kosovski, Ashley Manweiler and Jen Smith. We will forever be Webby Award winners.

Colorado State University's social media team with their Webby Award, July 31, 2015
Colorado State University’s social media team with their Webby Award, July 31, 2015