Those who find Twitter a vehicle for narcissistic distraction can take smug satisfaction in the New York Times' account of the chaos at last night's Twitter awards.

No one would shut up for the host, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, even though he's a fellow tweeter. Nor would they shut up for the winners. Or basically anyone. Audience members were ignoring their surroundings as they chatted with friends and sent out tweets, as though it were just another night on the micro-blogging service, judging from the Times report.

Fueled by vanilla and turquoise martinis (the later named a "fail whale" martini after the turquoise graphic that shows up on Twitter when the site is overloaded), the sneaker-clad crowd kept talking - and sending Twitter messages through their iPhones - as the winners got up to give their 140-character acceptance speeches. Even the hip-hop artist MC Hammer, who arrived to present some awards, couldn't quiet the crowd down.

Twitter has became a favored "back channel" for business conference participants looking for a diversion from the official proceedings. Perhaps it was inevitable the service would become a distraction even at the "Shorty Awards" convened in its honor. The Times' description of the ceremony, right down to the unfortunately truncated acceptance speeches, reminds me of the utterly vacant 2000 Webby Awards. That ended well.

[via Silicon Alley Insider]