Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time Person of the Year 2006 - Miland Brown

OK, I am exaggerating a lot. Time Magazine has named you (that means everyone) person of the year. But since that includes me, my headline is technically true. The article is You -- Yes, You -- Are TIME's Person of the Year.

Time has a good rationale for this. User generated content on the Web is booming and changing they way we find and disseminate information. The collective impact on history of millions of people contributing to Facebook, Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube, Blogger, etc. has made all of these people the ones who had the most impact on the world in 2006.

I will admit that Time took the easy road on the choice this year. If they truly picked the one person who had the biggest impact in 2006, it probably should have been President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. However, I am glad Time ducked that choice. It would have been a propaganda coup for the Iranian President which would have been easily used to make it appear that the Western media supported him and his policies. Pointing out that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were also past winners probably would not have changed the propaganda value.

From the site:

The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

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