13th Annual Shorty Awards Categories

The Shorty Awards honor the talented agencies, brands, and industry leaders behind the best and most innovative work on social media and digital channels, campaigns, websites and applications.

From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards Best in Activism

These people stand up for what they believe in, cause a movement, or live up to Gandhi's words, "be the change you want to see in the world". Whether they use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social means to help generate awareness of their cause, start a revolution, or inspire others to do the same, they might just win this Shorty.

Brand entries using of social media in this space can be found in Best Social Good Campaign Shorty Award.


Brandon Stanton
Brandon Stanton is photographer and creator of the immensely popular Humans of New York Facebook page and subsequent bestselling book, which captures portraits of New Yorkers with snippets of their stories. The images and stories are frequently liked and shared by Facebook users—and politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—spawning a best…
Emma Watson
It only took twelve hours after actress Emma Watson’s speech launching the equal rights solidarity campaign #HeForShe at the UN Headquarters for the online death threats roll in, but, in Emma’s characteristically classy style, she used the publicity to her advantage—partnering with JP Morgan Chase, Emma got #HeForShe banners on Chase ATM screens n…
Jesse Williams
After years of teaching high school African studies classes in Philadelphia (and, of course, acting, which was really more of a side career until his first role on Law & Order), Jesse Williams became the youngest member of the board of directors of the civil rights advocacy group The Advancement Project, and used that platform in 2015 to launch Qu…
Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, after standing up for her right to education and surviving a gunshot wound to the head. Undeterred, she continued her fight against Taliban rule in Pakistan. He Named Me Malala, a documentary following Malala’s journey to activist stardom, premiered in 2015, and she also ope…
Mark Ruffalo
An activism triple threat, Mark Ruffalo tackled fracking, male breast cancer, and the Catholic Church this year on social media. Baring his chest on Instagram, he helped get #InTheNipofTime trending for male breast cancer awareness, and starred in Spotlight, the biopic about breaking the news on the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church—he’s be…


Clint Smith
Written following the death of Tamir Rice after his pellet gun was mistaken for a weapon, Clint Smith’s TED Talk titled How To Raise a Black Son in America relayed his personal awakening of racial bias as a child in a nighttime water gun fight. A poet, activist, and prison educator, Clint speaks on racial and financial inequality in America, lending his uni…
Cornel West
Philosopher, activist, author, and socialist, Cornel West has been on the front lines of social uprisings since he first hit public consciousness. As a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Cornel criticizes world leaders on both the left and the right. Unlike other political influencers, Cornel puts himself on the ground, getting arrested in St L…
Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem rose to prominence in the Second Wave of feminism and continues to evolve and stay on the front lines of the fight for equal rights. Her memoir, My Life On The Road, which chronicles her journey from the abuse she suffered as a child through to today’s reproductive-rights fight, sent Gloria on a cross-country speaking tour, where she spoke wi…
Jim Obergefell
After a 20-year relationship, Jim Obergefell and his husband John married in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional. John was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, so the two hatched a plan to fly quickly to Baltimore—where marriage was legal—to marry quickly on the tarmac. After John’s death, when Ohio refused to recognize the marriage, Obergefel…
Patricia Arquette
When actress Patricia Arquette skipped the usual agent and Academy thank-yous in her Oscar speech in favor of a heartfelt call for wage equality for the sexes, she stirred the waters and spawned numerous discussions on social media. In 2015, after the Sony leaks showed women were getting paid far less than their male counterparts, Patricia’s words became a …
Seth Berkley
In 2015, there was an 85 percent decrease in polio cases in Pakistan, and Seth Berkley, CEO of the Gavi vaccine alliance and former president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, isn’t stopping there. An outspoken opponent of the anti-vaxxer movement, Berkley and Gavi have been instrumental in introducing vaccines for polio, pneumonia, diarrhea, ce…

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media.

Millions of people participate in The Shortys to recognize individuals and organizations producing great content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, Snapchat, and the rest of the social web.

shorty awards finalists will be announced in mid-march!