This year, Time Magazine has named You as the Person of the Year. Yes, You, the publishers powered by the platform that is the World Wide Web.
The article begins by reporting that 2006 is the year we have realized history is no longer shaped by few greats. Instead, we have witnessed a phenomenon concocted by the crowd, from people all over the world. Wikipedia and YouTube are cited as the prime examples of such revolutionary behavior.
But beyond speaking in awe of such a new, large-scale, worldwide trend brought about by advances in computers and the Internet—here the phrase Web 2.0 has since been thrown about—Time commends us for all the hard work we put into making the revolution a reality.
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.
I like that particular passage because Time emphasized in it that in order to capitalize the You, individuals around the planet chose to take time out from their usual routine to try out online gaming, social networking, podcasting, photo sharing, video viral marketing, and of course, blogging. These are online activities that people have suddenly taken an interest in and squeezed into their lifestyles. (Of course “sudden” is relative, but if you’ve been paying attention to recent Web 2.0 booms lately, you’ll know how young yet mind-blowingly successful MySpace and YouTube are.)
More importantly, this Person of the Year “award” became affirmation that individual efforts, especially for the better good (Wikipedia, Digg), matter. (That is not to say everything out there is all good.) And as if to help bulldoze the myth that they are mere timewasters for the nerdy and/or immature, streaming forth are full-blown sources of revenue for everyone through such publishing platforms. From the corporate giants that splurge left and right to the individual bloggers who don’t even need to spend a peanut on blog hosting, your compensation is only limited by your ambitions.
Who would have dreamt how, why, and that it would become possible? That You would make it possible?