Time Magazine’s person of the year is occasionally controversial (ie: when Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the Ayatullah Khomeini were named), and the article is generally well-read. But never will it be more read than this year, when the Time Person of the Year is You.
I’ve said it in fun and seriously during the course of the year (and not just because I had a book on blogging coming out!), but it’s certainly true that 2006 has been the year of the blogger, the flickr user, the YouTube contributer, the MySpace artist and so on. As a result, I think the selection of a very differentiated mass of internet users, all collectively creating content using a range of applications collectively known as ‘Web 2.0’, is probably an incisive selection for Person of the Year. These users have shown great influence over their peers, over the shape of media as it transforms into a multichannel universe, over politicians and policy decision makers, and over the future of business.
It may be a ploy by Time to grow its readership – and the irony of this action under the circumstances cannot be underestimated – but as a choice of Person of the Year, it’s probably true that no single individual has had the influence of the collective mass of content creators online this year. I’ve reported previously this year on the growth in the number of blogs, the visits to You Tube and other sources – indeed I called 2006 the Year of Web 2.0 way back in July – but it’s also true that the value and invention of participants in this Web 2.0 realm has spread far beyond the technologically connected community. Barriers to communication and participation in others’ lives have been smashed this year, and an active citizenry is beginning to emerge as a context for communication. Organisations that fail to recognise the importance of developing a Web 2.0 strategy risk being relegated to the ranks of obscurity in the next year. Thus I feel such recognition of the active participants of Web 2.0 as Person(s) of the Year is deserved.
So congratulations to you all.