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Binghamton University ranked first in Shorty Awards

Global competition encourages students use social media to earn nominations

Students who spend more time on Twitter than they do in the library may finally be able to put those hashtagging skills to good use for Binghamton University.

The Barnes & Noble-sponsored Shorty Awards seek out the best social media users around the world. Students at BU are looking to join the ranks of Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and George Takei, who have all won in previous years.

And it looks like they may not be far off. At the time of printing, BU was in first place with 91 nominations, ahead of the University of Houston, currently at 87 nominations.

“We believe that what happens on social media can impact society as much as what happens in the movies or on TV, so we’d better encourage people do great things on social media,” said Greg Galant, executive producer and co-founder of the Shorty Awards. “What makes the Shorty Awards unique is that anyone on social media can win. Anyone can be nominated with just a tweet.”

Barnes & Noble partnered with the Shorty Awards to create the #BNCollege Shorty Awards, to judge the “most social media”-savvy school in the country and its impact on the community. Last year’s winner was West Virginia University, who created a video campaign to rally students. The Academy selected them for the creativity of their tweets and how well they engaged the entire campus with the campaign.

“The Shorty Awards are a fun and creative way to tell the world what we here are at Binghamton already know: This campus is truly outstanding and has embraced social media to celebrate the school’s authentic spirit and attitude,” said Ryan Yarosh, director of media and public relations at BU. “Not only could this help generate some positive publicity for the University, but we can easily make it to the finals of this competition.”

The winner is selected from seven finalists, including the top four most tweeted about, and three who are picked by the Shorty Awards nominating board, which is composed of professional journalists. The nominating board picks the winner based on a number of factors, including the creativity of their social media platforms, interaction with followers and innovation using social media.

“Of the 64 campuses within the SUNY system, Binghamton has the largest, most engaged Facebook following,” Yarosh said. “And it doesn’t stop there. Look at our Instagram, YouTube channel, Twitter. We are clearly tops in SUNY, but it’s time to move beyond that.”

Binghamton University has 29,296 likes on Facebook, 8,389 followers on Twitter and 2,997 followers on Instagram.

“All the accounts expand the social network of our school, which brings us a lot of opportunities and updates we wouldn’t really have otherwise,” said Jose Cruiz Junior Arturo Madrigal, a junior majoring in biology. “The bigger reach we have, the better.”

The nomination period began Jan. 7 and ends Feb. 18.

“It would bring a lot of good attention to the school, definitely,” said Hannah Premo, a freshman majoring in integrative neuroscience. “I feel like we need some outlet for competition anyway.”