Longform

Masters of Cyberspace

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Merritt Beck
@merrittbeck

If you need the straight dope on what's hot in fashion, either the kind you wear or the kind you live in, peek into the world of one of Houston's best PR pros in the business by following Merritt Beck. Coupled with her blog, Manolos and Martinis, Beck is a veritable fountain of style info all over social media. For women, she can be a beacon in the stormy world of do's and don'ts, and for guys, she helps explain why it sometimes takes an hour to leave the house.

Best Breaking News/Bloodhound Twitterer

Kyle Nielsen
@kylejack

You know him from when he helped cover May's tragic botched bank robbery in downtown Houston with just his cellphone and quick fingers, and most recently uncovered fishiness with a certain beer festival's charity status. Kyle Nielsen is one of the city's most trusted and indispensable news bloodhounds, even outdoing those stuffy guys in suits on the big networks, and you don't have to sit through any commercials.

Best Use of Twitter by a Restaurant

Hubcap Grill
@hubcap_grill

Ricky Craig's no-nonsense Twitter account matches his real-life personality to a T. The owner of the popular Hubcap Grill is engaging and funny with his customers and quick to call out those who he doesn't think support the Houston food scene. He's refreshing, honest and fun to follow.

Best Food Blog

Blue Jean Gourmet
bluejeangourmet.com

Nishta Mehra doesn't write restaurant reviews. She doesn't interview chefs. She doesn't attend media tastings. She writes memoir-style posts that transform recipes from say just a useful guide to making Indian cuisine into a compelling, moving read.

Best Use of Video in Food

I Love Flavor
iloveflavor.com

I Love Flavor is all the bubblegum goodness of pop-culture — funny and bright and always tongue-in-cheek — thanks to host Jenny Kelley and her infectious enthusiasm, whether she's showing you how to make gluten-free mac & cheese or how to celebrate Steak & a Blow Job Day.

Best Restaurant Web Site

Hugo's
www.hugosrestaurant.net

Clean, sleek and easy to operate, without any obnoxious music playing in the background or PDF files to download, Hugo's Web site is everything a restaurant Web site should be. Best of all, the location and hours are listed right on the home page, no digging required.

Best Use of Twitter by a Bartender

Justin Burrow
@beardandbitters

Justin Burrow's handle says it all: @Beardand­Bitters. This bearded bartender loves his bitters, but more importantly he loves engaging with his customers on Twitter. Questions about a cocktail? He'll help you out. Just want to keep tabs on your favorite bartender and his foibles? You can do that, too.

Best Use of Twitter by a Food Truck

Eatsie Boys
@eatsieboys

The Eatsie Boys know that the best way for a food truck to survive is by providing constant updates about their menu, hours and location on Twitter. They do all of that, ably, as well as providing laughs throughout the day and throwing in obscure references to '80s movies along the way.

Best Use of Twitter by a Chef

Carlos Rodriguez
@c_e_rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez takes no prisoners, in real life as the executive chef of the fastidiously run Vic & Anthony's, or on Twitter. His feed is a high-energy, high-intensity, fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to head up the busiest steakhouse in town.

Best Use of Facebook by a Restaurant

Moon Tower Inn
www.facebook.com/moontowerinn

Moon Tower Inn has chosen Facebook instead of Twitter as its preferred platform for communicating with customers, and it does so splendidly. A deeply personalized Facebook page, the men behind Moon Tower leave hilarious photos and videos in addition to important information about specials and upcoming events on their wall.

Best Hashtag

#hounews

The best way to stay on top of breaking news — or any news, for that matter — in Houston is with the #hounews hashtag. Clicking on it provides you an instant stream from thousands of Houstonians about traffic jams, wrecks, fires, bank robberies, weather updates and dozens of other topics that make it to Twitter before they make it to the nightly news.

Best Personal Blog

Juan Alanis
www.juanofwords.com

Alanis's Juan of Words is a perfect distillation of the Houston we all know in 2011. It's bilingual, heartfelt, hilarious and nostalgic all at once. Even if you don't read or speak Spanish, it's a fascinating read, plus it can be educational. A few weeks ago he wrote a brilliant piece about men and women sharing basic household duties that will make even the most strident macho man stop and think about marriage in the 21st century.

Best Use of Facebook by a Band or Musician
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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty