“I nominate @LibertyU for a Shorty Award in #BNcollege because we believe Jesus turned his tomb into a door that saved the world,” or, “I nominate @LibertyU for a Shorty Award in #BNcollege because in the Old Greek, ‘Liberty University’ actually translates to ‘Shorty Award.’”
These tweets from Johnnie Moore and Campus Praise worship leader Justin Kintzel, along with other social media campaigns such as online voting and numerous Twitter postings, launched Liberty University and the School of Communication into first place for the fifth annual Shorty Awards.
The Shorty Awards, for which Conan O’Brien, Neil Patrick Harris and NASA have all been winners, recognizes the best universities, people and organizations in social media.
According to the Shorty Awards website, every year, millions of people visit the site to support their favorite social media content creators by tweeting nominations. All tweets culminate in an awards ceremony, which will be held April 8 in Times Square.
This year, Liberty was entered into the Barnes & Noble (#BNCollege) category, which recognizes the college or university that most effectively uses social media to drive campus engagement with the entire campus community.
Most importantly, the award also celebrates the school’s authentic spirit and attitude, according to the Shorty Awards’ website.
Liberty held a top spot among schools such as West Virginia University, University of Mississippi, Indiana University and others.
“While it’s a distinct honor to receive these accolades from such a prestigious group, our current standing in the Shorty Awards demonstrates, yet again, that Liberty University and our School of Communication and Creative Arts students and faculty stand at the exciting ‘cutting edge’ of the social media revolution,” Dean of the School of Communication Norman Mintle said.
According to Professor Bruce Kirk, who led the response team for the Barnes & Noble (BNCollege) category, Liberty’s high standing was due in large part to the “extraordinary talented student teams.”
“We’ve already won a place in the top tier,” Kirk said. “That means we beat just about every ‘name’ communication, business and/or journalism school in the nation in our category. This is just another example of the fact that our students are not just ‘crazy Christians,’ but they are talented, innovative and extraordinarily valuable ‘crazy Christians,’ and this will only increase employer demand for our graduates.”
According to Kirk, communication has launched into a new world of immediate and interactive media, and Liberty University is in the forefront.
“This just shows how right our dean, Dr. Norman Mintle, was when he came in and called for a ‘world-class’ social media capability for our school,” Kirk said.
With help from communications students like Jamie Vest, Mark Landis, Kerah Kemmerer and Jake Holland, a promotional video, as well as tweets and Facebook posts, were made in part to increase votes for the award.
“We had two days to shoot and edit a ‘Gangnam Style’ dance, and I’ve never been so stressed out in my life,” Vest said. “But to have such a great response made it so worth it.”
According to Holland, he was recruited by Kirk to help boost awareness and get the student body voting in favor of Liberty in the #BNCollege category.
“I jumped on board with tweeting — like a maniac — and encouraged friends and students to do the same,” Holland said. “We were able to rally together over the course of 48 hours and push Liberty from sixth to first place.”
Among the numerous social media outlets available, Holland prefers Twitter and Instagram.
“I like the limitations of Twitter, as far as how much you can post in one tweet,” Holland said. “Facebook can get bogged down with people posting entire books as their status updates. Instagram is great too, as far as challenging myself creatively in the field of mobile photography and beyond. It’s such a fun community of creative minds.”
Kemmerer, a School of Communication’s Graduate Student Assistant, works predominately with the department’s social media, as well as for a non-profit and her father’s company.
“I have utilized some aspect of social media in every job I’ve had since undergrad,” Kemmerer said. “Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are some of the most useful platforms through which to promote a company and interact with its given client base.”
The Shorty Awards ceremony will be streamed live online at livestream.com/shortyawardslive. To stay updated with School of Communication events and campaigns, check out their Facebook page, Twitter and Pinterest page.