Partygoers look for several things when deciding whether to attend a Hollywood soiree: convenient parking, networking opportunities, beautiful women, an open bar and, perhaps most importantly of late, does the party give good tweet?
"How the hell did I miss Slash?" exclaimed Sandy Burciaga (@grimygoods) via Twitter the day after L.A. Weekly's invite-only Web Awards bash at Bardot, once photos of the winners and guests had been posted online. The elegant club's smoky, candlelit interior and capacity crowd made it hard enough for L.A.'s digerati to find where they last set down their champagne, let alone find the rock legend and "Best MySpace Music Page" award winner.
From Google Wave and mommy blogs to swine flu, 2009 was a booming year for Web and social-media trendsetters. To celebrate, L.A. Weekly hosted its first-ever L.A. Web Awards on January 21 and asked readers to nominate the best of 2009 online in 36 categories. The turnout featured a large and gregarious spectrum of bloggers, journalists, video producers, entertainers, new-media strategists, photographers, Twitter personalities and others who color up L.A.'s tech and social-media communities. They met, they mingled, and they definitely made good use of the open bar.
After more than 1,000 nominations were tallied, the winners were chosen by a team of judges: G4 TV's Kevin Pereira, L.A. Times' Andrew Nystrom, Techmeme's Gabe Rivera, Buddyhead's Travis Keller, MySpace's Sean Percival, Digg's Aubrey Sabala, Girl Gamer's Mike Prasad, CBS' Shira Lazar, the Chive's John Resig, MTV's Maya Baratz and pro-digger Mr. Baby Man.
Missy and Sean Suicide of Suicide Girls (winners of "Sexiest Site") and Alice Shin of Kogi BBQ (winner of "Best Business Twitterer") were among the first of the early arrivals, soon to be followed by Lalawag's Laurie and Sean Percival (winners of "Best Tech Blog"), who geeked out when they were handed their award, a gold-plated, 5-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk encased in glass.
"The floppy-disk trophy is full of so much win, it makes us want to reformat our hearts for you guys," Sean joked.
Upstairs in Bardot's DJ room, with Keith Morris behind the decks, a beaming Missy Suicide sipped champagne. "We're honored to be L.A.'s sexiest site," she said. "Suicide Girls started in summer of 2001, before Friendster, Facebook or MySpace, so the concept of having a blog and creating a community around the images of the girls was unheard of back then. Honestly, we didn't know if it would take off."
Many of the winners echoed a similar sentiment when asked about their site's success and their win.
"It's pretty awesome that we won for best business on Twitter when we don't really follow a business model," said Alice Shin of Kogi. "Everything a business isn't supposed to do, we ended up doing and it worked."
Travis Keller, founder of one of L.A.'s earliest popular-music blogs — the ever-merciless Buddyhead — insisted on clarifying his win, in the snark category of "Best Flamer": "This is one of the reasons I'm gonna say that so far 2010 feels like one of the best years of my life. Although, I have to point out that where I come from, 'flamer' sure as hell doesn't mean 'best shit-talker.' "
As for Slash? He couldn't make it. So the Weekly went to him to present the award. "It's actually sort of ironic," he said. "I was the total anti-technology guy until finally in 2001 I got a cell phone. And then it was in 2005 that I got a computer. The one thing I really dig about social media is that it gives you the chance to respond to your fans and interact with them in a way that you normally couldn't do anywhere else."
He laughed, "So now I'm a twittering fool and I'm getting an award for my MySpace page."
And yes, we hope that Golden Floppy goes right next to his Grammy.
L.A.'s Best Twitterer
L.A.'s Best Flickr Pool
L.A.'s Best 12 Seconds Account
L.A.'s Best Commenter
Sarah J. Gim, the Delicious Life
L.A.'s Best Flamer
L.A.'s Best Food Blog
L.A.'s Best Music Blog
L.A.'s Best Police Blog
L.A.'s Best Tech Blog
L.A.'s Best Politics Blog
Top of the Ticket, L.A. Times
L.A.'s Best Drinking Blog
Caroline on Crack
L.A.'s Best Lowbrow Art Blog
The Streets Are Calling
L.A.'s Best Highbrow Art Blog
L.A.'s Best Business Twitterer
L.A.'s Best Local Activism Site
L.A. Streets Blog
L.A.'s Best Gamer Site
L.A.'s Best MySpace Music Page
L.A.'s Best iPhone App
L.A.'s Best Most Shameless Self-Promoter
L.A.'s Best Twitpic
Paid to Be Nice
L.A.'s Best News Blog
L.A.'s Best Counterculture Blog
L.A.'s Sexiest Site
L.A.'s Best Online Video
SecretSauce TV, "Where the Dirty Hipsters Are (Wild Things Spoof)"
L.A.'s Best Home Page
GOOD Los Angeles
L.A.'s Best-Designed Site Aesthetic
L.A.'s Best Personal Blog
L.A.'s Best Celebrity Fan Site
Her Name Is Jane Lynch
L.A.'s Best Government Site
L.A.'s Best Restaurant Site
Eat at Street
L.A.'s Best Retail Site
Sorting With Style
L.A.'s Best Humor Site
L.A.'s Best Tweet of the Year
Roger Avary's tweet from jail: @avary: "#34 is 'rolled up' to a higher security facility for exercising his first amendment rights. The truth he has discovered is too dangerous."
L.A.'s Best Blog Post of the Year
"100 Things to Try in L.A. Before You Die," Caroline on Crack
L.A.'s Best Online Photo of the Year
"Walkabout," by Mathieu Young, GOOD.is
L.A.'s Best Comment Thread of the Year
"Nike Confuses USC With That School Near Diddy Riese," Lost Angeles Blog