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Person of the Year

Entry 445, on 2006-12-18 at 17:21:56 (Rating 2, News)

Recently Time magazine announced its annual person of the year. The result was rather interesting: it was you (I guess that means anyone reading the magazine, but I interpret it as meaning everyone). In other words, they were saying that no single famous person was important enough to be selected, but the combined influence of many individuals was. Obviously this is a result of the effect the average person can have by using the Internet. Maybe those trends, such as blogging and podcasting, which the more tech-savvy of us have been involved with for years have finally reached the mainstream.

Of course the competition may not have been as strong as we would expect. The final candidates ahead of "you" were Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, North Korea's Kim Jong Il and former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. That makes the choice relatively easy, doesn't it?

But even ignoring the quality (or lack of) in the competition I think its not unreasonable to emphasise how the Internet has given us all a voice. I have been blogging for over three years and have had hundreds of thousands of hits on my blogs since then. I have also had hundreds of comments and other communications on the topics covered in my blogs. Blogging is a great way to share ideas and debate subjects with people from many different backgrounds from anywhere in the world.

I still use mainstream web sites for my main source of news, but I also use blogs and podcasts a lot. It is necessary to be careful to use the appropriate amount of caution when accepting anything you find on the Internet, but that applies to any source of information to varying degrees. For example, I have a great deal of skepticism regarding news stories in my local paper as well.

So although Time has been pilloried by many people for its choice I think they have made a good point. We are entering a new age of communications where anyone can make a contribution to the sum of global knowledge. I don't think professional news gatherers or commentators will find themselves out of a job straight away, but the "alternative" news sources will become increasingly popular as a check against the mainstream spin on news and as a source of specialist information. So thank you Time, I accept the award of person of the year, along with my fellow bloggers and Internet users.

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Comment 1 (2008) by Georgie on 2009-05-10 at 12:48:35:

Thank you for your insight. I'm currently writing an essay on digital media and the effects and limitations of Web 2.0 and I shall be stealing your ideas...referencing them of course. Wonderful!

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Comment 2 (2009) by OJB on 2009-05-10 at 14:28:58:

OK, cool, if you need any "expert" opinions or information just email me (ojb@mac.com).

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