Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm Time's Person of the Year

And so are YOU!

Lisa sent me these quotes from the article:

"...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.

...It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter."

I love this! Made my day. I felt validated in the best way - that all the attempts at community, the writing, the reading, the sharing, the connecting to people I would never meet in a hundred years IRL is worth something. That maybe dialog is less intentional and more opportunitistic. Perhaps blundering into the other is better than organized symposiums led by academics, maybe sharing what you really think with the Internet and discovering if what you think even matters is better than smugly contenting yourself with your own opinions and assuming they make sense...

And what about the wonder of YouTube where no one is left out, where we can enjoy what we missed, where people work for nothing to see someone else experience their pleasure? Perhaps a little selflessness is possible in this era of self-promotion after all.

Sometimes we look back wistfully at the days when "young ladies were so accomplished" (ala Jane Austen) with their tatting, rug knitting, piano playing and watercolor painting decrying that no one has the chance to be creative or original any more because of all the expert musicians, photography and mass production of everything we need.

But no one counted on the pedestrian power of technology. Anyone can play today, thanks to the free access Internet and the wonderful platforms designed for Every Person's use. You don't have to be a computer/website expert to play.

The imagination and creativity exhibited in blogs, websites, forums, discussion groups, online videos, photo galleries and more show us a populace hungry for sharing. I love thinking about people putting in creative energy and time just to share a silly video with the world hoping to create a shared enjoyment with someone they've never met.

I remember last year when I stumbled on the forums for Brokeback Mountain what an epiphany it was to discover a community of several thousand equally impacted by that movie. It led to a grassroots campaign to raise money to run a full page ad in Variety Magazine that dubbed the film "Best Picture of the Year" after it lost at the Oscars. We wanted to thank all the creators and actors for their marvel of a film. The result of that move (made possible by friends of the film from around the world who are a part of the forums) led to an interview with Annie Proulx and a response from Diana Osama.

The members of the forums have now created a book which is a compilation of comments by members that describe the film's impact. A few of my remarks made the cut. I feel honored to be a part of that project. The book's been created by a dozen volunteers as a work of love, no pay, and all proceeds going to charity.

That's the Internet. That's why I love it.

Inhale. Sigh. I'm inspired.

What do you love about the Internet? Where do you hang out and what keeps you coming back? And do you agree with Time's Person of the Year choice?


Dave said...

You received the Time Mag. choice about as perfectly as they could have hoped! It struck me as kind of gimmicky and goofy when I first heard about it even though I think I understand the rationale and certainly have my own connection to the self-directed media phenom that they're highlighting. Maybe it's just their choice of "you" that seemed a little too much of an indulgence or pandering to a culture that's already pretty self-absorbed... But I'm not going to stew on it or go out of my way to heap ridicule on Time, Inc. as many commentators already have. Given the landscape, there really isn't any other compelling personality that stands out on the national or international scene. I've heard a number of Democrats suggested for engineering the campaign that switched control of Congress but... nahh, they've only gotten elected, they haven't done anything yet. Foreign affairs have just been one screw-up after another this year, there are no towering figures who are making the world a better place, or even any arch-villains worthy of recognition, as Time has sometimes highlighted. Nobody in pop culture who really stands out either... all our celebrities are either riding on past glories or they are simply famous because of the very same internet info stream that's being featured by the current selection. So I have nobody better to put on the Time magazine cover.

Oh, yeah, let me just say that I love the internet too and the way it connects me to people that really do play a significant role in my life even if my f2f interactions with them are extremely seldom or never!

Ampersand said...

I love the choice by Time. This is my first year in the blogosphere, and I'm definitely hooked. Self-publishing to the internet is such a powerful sensation.

Yesterday I realized that there was a link to my blog on the because I had linked a story there. Coolness!

I love making new blog friends by commenting on a blog and then having them stop by my blog to leave a friendly comment.

And more than anything, I enjoy blogging as a means to sustained connection with cyber-friends.

my15minutes said...

Like Dave said, it first seemed a cop-out kind of person of the year. But since there aren't too many other compelling nominees, it is justifiable. And really, who can argue with democracy bustin' out all over? I mean, I guess that's what I love about the Internet. It gives everyone a voice, from the village idiot to the village elder. Everyone can be someone on the internet.

I guess I've limited my contact on the internet to Trapdoor Society, because it has given me the connection I needed without chewing up all my time. If there was something interesting out there, usually you or someone would bring it to my attention!

I've never really gotten into the blogging habit but I think I'm going to have to do that if I want to keep up with people. Maybe if I spend less time on a forum and use that time to maintain my own blog, I can handle it. I love that the options for creativity exist via the internet, as you mentioned. This year, I self-published several photo albums thanks to Apple and the internet and the iPhoto software.

I wish there were one place (on the internet) that would tell me the BEST of the internet: best search engines, best applications, noteworthy blogs, etc. I know for you and others the joy of discovery fuels you, but I prefer to just cut to the chase! There's so much out there that it becomes overwhelming.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Congratulations on being Time's Person of the Year! :-)