Social media allows individuals to make a meaningful impact in their communities by inspiring people, cultivating optimism and creating opportunity within their communities.

The Connecting People Shorty Award created in partnership with Nokia is given to a person who is genuinely bringing people together through Twitter and social media.

Nominees were judged based on the impact they’ve had on their communities and the creative ways they’ve used the social web to connect people.

Shannon Miller is a school district librarian and technology specialist in Van Meter, Iowa. Miller uses social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, and Skype to help local students connect with their favorite authors, as well as with other students and educators around the globe. She also keeps a blog called “Van Meter Library Voice,” where she shares information about libraries, education, technnology, and Van Meter students. Miller uses social media, including Twitter, to interact with students and crowdsource information to help them. One voter wrote, “She connected me to my favorite author Amy Efaw, who I now have on Facebook and talk to her often. I am only fourteen, she has changed my life.”


Tim Burrows @TrafficServices

Tim Burrows is a Toronto Police sergeant who is in charge of strategic communications for the city’s traffic services unit. Burrows began using Twitter in 2009, originally to show that he was aware of traffic accidents. Then he branched out, using the site to communicate with reporters, share safety messages, and tips of the day through the Traffic Services Twitter account. His goal is to help educate followers from across North America about traffic safety for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. He also uploads content to the Toronto Police Facebook page. One voter wrote, “He is one of the most engaged police officers in social media, regularly and consistently talking to his followers on a daily basis.”

Paul Carrick Brunson @OneDegreeFromMe

Paul Carrick Brunson is an American life coach and matchmaker who founded One Degree From Me, a matchmaking and life coaching company that serves New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He is also the host of Modern Day Matchmaker Wednesday, known by the hashtag #MDMW, which is Twitter-based matchmaking where he helps a bachelor or bachelorette make meaningful connections. Brunson also uses Twitter to share events, discuss dating and relationships, and interact with followers. One voter wrote of Brunson, “Doing an amazing job through Twitter and Facebook at connecting people as friends and potential love interests. He also gives out great information and advice that betters his followers’ lives.”

Kyra Gaunt@kyraocity

Kyra Gaunt is an associate professor of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and Black studies at Baruch College-CUNY. Gaunt, based in Brooklyn, New York, is also a social media expert, a TED Fellow, an author, a jazz and R&B recording artist, and a public speaker. She utilizes tools such as Scribd to disseminate e-books on anthropology and racism that are co-written with her students. Gaunt also uses Skype and Facebook in her classes to connect students with social entrepreneurs and other individuals from around the world. She uses Twitter to share news and information about the subjects she focuses on as a professor and in her daily life. One voter wrote, “I have been priviliged to attend her classes at Baruch and she uses social media to teach.”

Amanda Palmer @amandapalmer

Amanda Palmer is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer based in New York City who was formerly the lead singer of the band The Dresden Dolls. Today, Palmer has a successful solo career and performs with the band Evelyn Evelyn. She has embraced social media, and Twitter in particular, to stay connected with her fans as the recording industry struggles to stay relevent. Palmer uses her verified Twitter account to share photos, concert information, and dispatches from her travels and day-to-day life. One voter wrote, “She has single-handedly shown every other artist on this planet how to use social media to thrive in this age in which buying art on plastic discs has gone the way of the dinosaur.”

Jay Park @jaybumaom

Jay Park, also known as Park Jaebeom, is a Korean-American singer, rapper, actor, and b-boy from South Korea who lives in Seattle. Park had a cult following as a member of the Korean band 2 PM. In 2009, Park allegedly posted “unfavorable comments” about South Korea on his MySpace page, although fans argue that the comments were misinterpreted. After Park was dismissed from 2 PM and JYP Entertainment, his fans boycotted the band. Park became a solo artist and got involved in charity projects, including an effort to knit hats for newborns. Currently he is an Art of Movement dance member and has two rap singles on iTunes. His fandom is called “J-Effect” and fans are “JWalkers.” Park’s cover of B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” won an award for Best 2010 Web Video at the Mashable Awards. He uses Twitter to communicate with fans in English and Korean, and inspires fans to volunteer and donate to good causes. Park received more nominations for this award than any other finalist. One voter wrote, “We not only support Mr. Park but also lend out a helping hand in improving the society around each of our communities in attempts to follow in Mr. Park’s footsteps in spreading love and respect, a motto he lives by.”

Your name
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Your Twitter username
(e.g. @username or
URL of nominee’s primary social presence
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Name of person you’re nominating
How has the nominee connected people using social media?
How has the nominee created opportunities within your community? Feel free to include links to examples.
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