Richi Jennings

We are all Time's POTY (and be a perfect SO)

December 18, 2006 6:19 AM EST
Get your tearful acceptance speech ready, it's IT Blogwatch, in which you and we pat ourselves on the back for being Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Not to mention how to be a perfect Significant Other...

In case you hadn't heard, Michelle Nichols fills us in:
You were named Time magazine "Person of the Year" on Saturday for the explosive growth and influence of user-generated Internet content such as blogs, video-file sharing site YouTube and social network MySpace. "For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you," the magazine's Lev Grossman wrote.

The magazine has put a mirror on the cover of its "Person of the Year" issue, released on Monday ... You beat out candidates including Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, China's President Hu Jintao, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and James Baker, the former U.S. Secretary of State who led Washington's bipartisan Iraq Study Group.
Kevin Gamble is self-effacing:
I know that the Time Person of the Year will be discussed ad nauseam and I‘m sure I will have little to contribute. So my comments will be brief. Their article was a good read. The folks at Time get-it, they understand what‘s happening, and their article helps to advance the cause because it will help to get people‘s attention. So, it‘s a good thing. For all of us working to flatten the world – thank you Time!
Charlie O'Donnell reacts:
I don't need old media telling me I'm special ... to Time, I give a big fat thanks but no thanks... the same reaction I have to blogging "A-lists".  We're just people, living out our lives and talking.  That's not special, that's just real.  Unfortunately, it took the web a long time to get this close to reflecting real life. That being said, my bigger issue is that it really doesn't reflect real life for most people.  Most people aren't blogging or posting on YouTube.
Jeff Jarvis agrees:
Well, I suppose I should give Time some credit for recognizing the power of the people. Only thing is, there’s no news here. This is nothing new. We have always been in charge. It’s just that the people who thought they had the power now have no choice to but hear us and recognize that we are, and always have been, the boss ... I don’t disagree with a thing they say. I just want to turn down the volume a bit. And people think bloggers like me get overheated.
...
It’s wise of Time to pick many people. That’s the way the world really works. There are many worlds within our world and many leaders in them. So if Time were doing its job properly, it would highlight a million people of the year. But, of course, it can’t. The form doesn’t allow it. And the form is what led to massthink. But mass is over. And I see this as Time’s admission of that. And so for that, I applaud them.
Abe Olandres is, "Surprised and confused":
But why now? Users have been generating content since time immemorial. Yup, including spammers and sploggers alike. There are also legions of dedicated forums and groups generating the same content way back in the 90s.
Darren Rowse takes his hat off to Time's SEO strategy:
Time Magazine have pulled off the Link Bait of the year ... While I think it’s a great award (you/we) have been a part of a massive shift) I think it’s also a brilliant Linkbait strategy (planned or unplanned). Can you imagine the inbound links this is going to create for Time?!? Every user generated content maker is going to be linking to this one! :-)
Gur Tsabar is more direct:
Don't mean to rain on your parade, but Time magazine is really not that into YOU - they're into YOUr buying their magazine. Reality is, YOU're threatening its existence. Or I guess, as Time's editors call it, "beating the pros at their own game...".
...
The playing field is leveling at an exponential clip, as the costs of content production, consumption and distribution approach zero - and as the media formats converge. On our new network (aka the Internet) the reach of every outlet - new and old, large and small - is in play; marketshare can no longer be taken for granted. And for that, there's indeed only YOU to blame. Not sure that's exactly the message Time had in mind but hey, congrats no less!
Here's jjohnson, with a perspective:
Person of the Year is irrelevent ever since they passed on naming Osama bin Laden in 2001. The original intent was to name the person with the greatest impact. In 1938 Hitler was Man of the Year; in 1939 it was Stalin, just because the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact gave Hitler breathing room to invade the rest of Europe.

In 2001 bin Laden was obviously the personage with the most impact, but people have come to see Person of the Year as laudatory, so now Time is constrained to pick popular figures rather than infamous ones, even if it's the infamous who mattered more.
And Nick Carr mentions the "Time cover jinx":
Time magazine's issue of May 6, 1946, featured famed horse-breeder and makeup-magnate Elizabeth Arden Graham on its cover. The day the magazine hit the newsstands, Graham's stable burned to the ground, killing 22 thoroughbreds. The tragedy confirmed what the public had suspected since the early 1930s: To have your picture on the front page of the popular newsweekly was to be cursed. Whom the gods would destroy they first put on Time's cover.
Josh Hallett asks:
The question is, what about the people not taking part in creating/using any of this user-generated-content? Are they part of the 'You'? Perhaps they should have a different cover of Time that says, 'Them'.
Buffer overflow:
Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch
And finally... How to be the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.