Partygoers look for several things when deciding whether to attend a Hollywood soiree: convenient parking, networking opportunities, beautiful women, an open bar, and perhaps the most important as 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 to mommy blogs to #swineflu, 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 our readers to nominate 2009's best online in 36 categories. Who gave the best tweet? What was the best news site? The sexiest? What was the best site for gamers and who wrote the best blog post of the year?
After tallying over one thousand nominations, a team of tastemaker 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 — combed through the sites and selected winners.
While some like Slash couldn't make it to the awards party due to scheduling conflicts, and others like Wil Wheaton, winner of “Best Personal Blog,” had to stay home awaiting possible evacuation orders because of the storm, club Bardot played host to a large and gregarious spectrum of bloggers, journalists, video producers, entertainers, new media strategists, photographers, Twitter personalities, and all those 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.
L.A. Weekly caught up with Slash prior to the party to present him with his “golden floppy” award and talk MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and social media gangs.
L.A. Weekly: Congrats on your L.A. Web Awards win.
Slash: It's actually sort of ironic considering I was the total anti-technology guy and refused to accept cell phones and computers until finally in 2001 I got a cell phone. And then it was in 2005 that I got a computer [laughs].
[Laughs] Well, welcome aboard.
So now I'm a twittering fool and I've got my computer and I'm getting an award for my MySpace page. I'm really, really flattered.
Do you update your MySpace yourself?
I have a guy that I work with at my office and he's really been helping me to understand how it works. Now that I've got a feel for it I make suggestions as to what I think should be on it.
It can be hard to keep up with the social media onslaught these days.
Oh, I'm terrible [laughs]. I update it but I don't actually interact too much. I do have a Twitter page so what I update on my Twitter I put on MySpace, which keeps it active.
One can imagine how many messages and @replys you get. How much of your MySpace music page design did you have a hand in?
I pick out the photos and I approve whatever content is on there. What I do is go, “Here's a design that works, I like that, I don't like that, let's use this.” I'm very hands-on but construction-wise I have no idea how it actually works. [Laughs] I have somebody that knows what they're doing. Kids, if you want job security… computer programming.
What's the weirdest thing you've come across via Twitter, MySpace or Facebook?
The weirdest thing so far, and it just happened in the last year, is all these very, very fanatical fans who are like gangs… Twitter or Facebook or MySpace gangs. They all link together. In one group there could be like 18 girls, there's a lot of South American people that are all associated together, and they group up and I get inundated with all these e-mails from the whole gang and it's all connected, you know? If you respond to one then you're responding to all of them and if they send you something then it's all together. It's very, very unusual. And I have to say, some of the kinky sexual connotations that go on are… it's cool, though, it's all good. I think the thing about social media is that it's relatively safe [laughs].
But there are those crazy stories about when people share too much or get too personal and it becomes dangerous.
Right. Yeah, I haven't hit that yet. But there is some stuff going on with people stealing stuff from my wife's Facebook, like pictures of our kids, and putting it on their pages, which is bizarre. We're going to figure out how to protect ourselves from that. It's just been the newest development in the whole social media thing for us. Like I said, we're pretty new to it. The one thing I really dig about it is that it really gives you a chance — I don't want to sound corny — but it really gives you the chance to respond to your fans and interact with them in a way that you normally couldn't do anywhere else. If they've got questions and they're reasonable questions then you can actually answer them.
You can also update people so much easier about the projects you're working on. Updates from the studio…
Oh, yeah. Everything that you want people to know.
It eliminates the need for press releases all the time.
That, and it eliminates the need for me to do interviews that are usually going to get misconstrued. They can actually get it from the horse's mouth if necessary. Now they can go direct to the source.