You Are Time's Person of the Year

Posted on December 16, 2006

You are Time's new Person of the Year. Time has chosen "You" meaning YouTube users, bloggers, citizen journalists, etc. -- people who use Web 2.0 software and contribute to social media websites.

The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.

And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos-those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms-than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.

And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

While it is nice to see Time magazine acknowledging the power of the Internet, Time's "You" actually leaves a huge number of people out. As high as 99% of all the people are left out if you follow the 1% rule. Many people may read blogs and many people may look at the videos on video sharing websites but the majority do not contribute any content at all.

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