Webby Awards: 5 Hours of 5-Word Speeches, Friedman and a Formerly Known Artist

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They may have limited acceptance speeches to five words, but the 10th Annual Webby Awards, held last night at Cipriani Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, still took over five hours to complete.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t show up to accept his Webby Award at the so-called Oscars of the Internet. Prince, however, did, although the Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As — who was honored with a lifetime achievment award — rifled through a one-song set as if the show he was in the process of stealing might not stay that way if he stuck around too long.

The Daily Show‘s Rob Corddry served as Webby host for the second year in a row and lovingly skewered award winners like Flickr. “Photosharing — is that what you’re calling it these days?” Corddry asked. “If that’s the case, I used to photoshare the crap out of myself.”

In accepting the Webby Breakout of the Year, MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe stuck to the five-word speech tradition while simultaneously addressing criticism surrounding the use of MySpace by adults preying on underage children: “Fun for the whole family.”


The Huffington Post’s liberal leader Arianna Huffington accepted her Webby declaring, “Darlings, make blogs, not war.”

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Thomas Friedman — who snagged Webby Person of the Year honors — touched on the business-side urgency of innovation online. “Whatever can be done, will be done,” Friedman said. “Will it be done to you or by you?” Friedman also addressed the energy conservation issues surrounding technology advancement: “Green is the new red, white and blue.” (See related video of Friedman during the cocktail hour.)

National Geographic online’s Valerie May, in what was perhaps a less-than-subtle response to the magazine’s editor-in-chief Chris Johns, used her five words to thank her staff by name, something Johns failed to do during his acceptance speech at the National Magazine Awards last month.

Dr. Robert Kahn, credited as one of the founders of the Internet, received a standing ovation — the loudest of the evening this side of Prince — before accepting his own lifetime achievement Webby.

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Webby Winners: Google, Flickr, MySpace, NPR, Cuban, Friedman