A range of influencers from your everyday positive puppy motivation to activists taking on the big, bad and the bold issues like the #me2movement to the flint water crisis attended this year’s 11th annual shorty awards.

Hosted by none other than the comedy giant, Kathy Griffin, the annual event recognized phenoms such as Terry Crews and celebrated digital giants like Shane Dawson and young activists like Mari Copeny along with other influencers across social media platforms, rallying to unify the young and old with their unique brand.

The CEO of the Shorty Awards, Greg Galant spoke to us about the inspiration behind the Shorty Awards.

 “We started the Shorty Awards to celebrate creativity and people innovating on social media. Social media couldn’t be different than it was a decade ago but at the heart of it, it’s still the same, it’s a great place to unleash your creativity. We want to celebrate people who are doing that and inspire others to get their own message out.”

Then we also had a chance to catch up with a few nominees & winners to see what advice they could offer so we can navigate our own social platform adventures.

Terry Crews, Actor & Activist – Find your tribe and make your enemies. Be fine with your enemies, because the problem is trying to be liked by everyone, you are going to be disappointed.  Be fine with having a stance and a decision to make.

Kathy Griffin, Comedian – Hey kids it’s me, mom.   Shake it off & take responsibility.  On a serious note. Do some research. Young people should get their information through legitimate sources. 

Jay Shetty, Host & Storyteller – Go really deep into what you want to share with the world, think about how you want to make people feel, think about why you are doing what you are doing & then go out there & Be courageous, be bold. Don’t let anyone hold you back and share your message.

Mari Copeny, Flint Activist – It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, short or tall, young or old, your voice still matters, and you can still make a difference in the world. 

Dr. Mike Varshavski, Health & Wellness Influencer – Stay as organic & honest as possible. When you are being yourself, you can truly make an impact on the world and that’s how you can be successful. 

Ricky Thompson, Instagram Influencer – Always be yourself, work hard. Don’t ever give up. 

Jabouki Young-White, Correspondent for The Daily Show – Always remember to retain a piece of yourself while being generous sharing your content. 

With those gems of wisdom, we celebrate and welcome this year’s class of social media giants and hope to learn more from them in the future as we keep a close eye on their platforms.


  • Poornima Peiris is an engineer interested in all things STEM related. She is the founder of an initiative encouraging women and minorities to pursue STEM related careers. She has conducted research in various stem disciplines at national labs and was a participant of NASA's space grant program. She is currently working on producing her own science podcast with her local community. Her scientific contributions include a publication in a scientific journal & besides reading up on scientific innovations, she also loves to read books on neuroscience, paint landscapes & create personalized wedding gifts. Aside from dabbling in the creative arts, she does fencing & tennis. Always a Sri Lankan at heart, she loves the ocean & spring weather. She currently splits her time between Massachusetts & New York.