Comedian Jimmy Fallon, who put his act through a test drive on the Internet before unveiling his late-night talk show on television, won a Webby Award on Tuesday as the Internet's Person of the Year.
The win for Fallon, who keeps in constant contact with fans through the Web site Twitter.com, comes a year after another talk show comedian, Stephen Colbert, won the same Person of the Year award for his humorous use of the Internet.
When I think about both of them, they're both fresh thinkers and trying to do something new, said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards.
Other special achievement winners in the 13th annual Webby Awards, known as the Oscars of the Internet, included Trent Reznor, frontman of Nine Inch Nails, who was recognized as Artist of the Year for making his 2008 album The Slip available for free on the band's Web site.
Seth MacFarlane, creator of animated TV show Family Guy, was named Film and Video Person of the Year for his Web-only series Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.
Twitter, the same site Fallon uses daily, won an award for Breakout of the Year. The three-year-old Twitter allows users to post messages of 140 characters or less, and update friends and followers on their latest thoughts and actions.
This year for whatever reason was a year that it moved from a geek thing to a mainstream thing, Davies said.
In the months leading up to the debut of his TV show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on network NBC, the comedian performed his stand-up routine in online webisodes, as he prepared to take over for Conan O'Brien as host of the program. He also has invited feedback from the public on his comedy sketches.
The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 600-member judging academy. Winners will be honored at a ceremony on June 8 in New York. Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers will host, and as always winners will be limited to a five-word acceptance speech.
The online wing of National Public Radio won seven Webby Awards, while the New York Times and NBC each won six awards for their online offerings. The New York Times had led the pack of nominees with 13 nods.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)