Out and About

Kings and Queens of the Internet Age: A Night Out at the Webutante Ball

“Look, I’m touching you! I’m touching you!”
Among the webutantes.

Among the webutantes.

“I was going to wear black, because that seemed like the New York thing to do,” confessed Callie Schweitzer, Webutante Ball Queen nominee and Vox Media’s director of marketing and communications, yelling to be heard over the music at Marquee last Thursday. “And then I was like, you know what? This is the Internet. Everyone is going to be wearing the craziest things. I should wear hot pink.”

Everyone did indeed wear the craziest things, though two getups in particular stuck out: matching head-to-toe solid-color suits, in red and blue, complete with fedoras.

“We’re out representing our startups and showing everybody how classy they can be,” said a man who introduced himself as Swift (full name: Mike Swift), showing off his cuff links, which featured the logo of his employer, SendGrid. His companion Jon Gottfried, from Twilio, was wearing sunglasses, which upon closer inspection turned out to be Google Glass.

“We’re the classiest people at the party,” Mr. Swift added, deadpan except for a slight, sly smile.

The guest list was pretty light on techies this year. In previous years, stars like David Karp, Dennis Crowley and Ben Lerer have turned out. A techie visiting from San Francisco, attending with a local journalist, frowned and asked whether the crowd was mainly advertising folks.

The buzziest of the attendees: Omri Mor and Colin Hodge, the co-founders of hookup app Bang With Friends. They had maintained strict secrecy about their identities until being outed by their appearance on the ballot for Webutante Ball King.

Not that Mr. Mor, the quieter of the two, sounded too crushed when we briefly bumped into him. After admitting he’d been hitting the Don Julio, he explained that he wasn’t necessarily one for making a big fuss: “If I do something good for society, so be it. I don’t need press or anything else.”

MediaBistro founder Laurel Touby lurked somewhere in the crowd, and we bumped into man about town Rex Sorgatz long enough for a quick conversation shouted over “212” thundering away at inner-ear-shredding decibels.

The music was so loud, in fact, that we barely heard the fanfare as SplashThat cofounder Ben Hindman and Maura Magazine scribe Maura Johnston were crowned king and queen of the festivities, donned their regalia and took the floor for their coronation dance. All that, and the Bang With Friends guys didn’t even win!

We approached Mr. Hindman, twirling about the dance floor in his red cape and gold crown. “I think we believe what everyone believes—that events are beautiful, that they’re the most powerful way to connect with others. We’re at an event right now and it’s amazing.” He grabbed the Transom’s shoulders and gave us a good shake. “Look, I’m touching you! I’m touching you!”

Why did he think he’d taken home the top prize, beating Messrs. Mor and Hodge, the odds-on favorites, we wondered? “What better way to get banged than going to an event in real life?” he parried, before yelling, apropos of very little, “I AM THE KING. I AM THE KING,” and dancing with Malloy Blair of Small Girls PR.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com