Good, better, best

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

I don't know how we keep outdoing ourselves on this Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada. I mean that in all humility, it's never really what we do here in the World Headquarters of the Reno News & Review—I mean we all play our parts, but it's success is really what you readers do with it.

As I've mentioned a couple times, we had a record year. I kind of thought we'd peaked out at around 3,888 in 2011, since we hovered around 3,000 since then, but this year we had an astounding 5,093 verified voters.

I'll tell you the reason for this. While we've always—since they were invented anyway—encouraged social media campaigns, changes in how Facebook works and the adoption of various other platforms created a whole new ballgame this year.

Just think about it. Businesses that have a national or international base have always had a leg up in the voting in these types of popularity contests. For example, when we had paper ballots and before we put them in their own category, the casinos' marketing departments could win any category they shot for. Now businesses like the whorehouses can overwhelm any local in categories where they try. This is in no way cheating; it's how the rules are set up. We're calling it the Citizen's United effect, where those with the greatest resources take elections.

Greg Golden's Bizarre Guitar & Guns was another one that just blew us away with their social media firepower: 154,881 likes on Facebook? That's awesome! If they can just motivate 1 percent of their people to vote, well that's 1,549 voters right there. Obviously, a lot of their friends, though, don't know Reno, so we see votes for chain stores that we haven't seen since we lovingly quarantined the casinos. Again, we can only tip our hats to their campaign.

As always, thank you to the artists, designers, sales people, delivery drivers and editors who make this the most beautiful and accurate Best Of in the region or even in the nation. Most of all, thank you to you voters and businesses who keep this thing growing and evolving year after year after year.