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2006 Time Magazine Person of the Year - You

Time magazine's Lev Grossman addresses the co-creator in us all when he says "Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world."
Apparently, in a world of 'user generated' content, ordinary people prove that some folks are truly extraordinary -- they've taken advantage of a public forum for personal expression called the Web. It's a truly wonderful thing for most people, but the gatekeepers of legacy 'big media' are probably not smiling at your accomplishment.
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.

In the early years at MCI, while working on their marketing strategy, I had the privilege to collaborate with Vint Cerf and Don Heath. Honestly, back then I didn't fully comprehend the broader implications of building a foundation for open communication between all these university academics. I certainly didn't realize that this storyline would bring us where it has today.
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.

I recall that when I first used Lynx, a text-only web browser, back in 1993 I thought that the concept of a World-Wide-Web was truly amazing. Of course, in those days there wasn't much to browse, but the whole notion of a hyperlink seemed to imply that this could lead to greater things.
The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.

Back when the first sentences of the first chapter of this story were being written, I never dreaming that I'd one day be writing these words -- and you reading them, wherever you are, Hello! :) -- perhaps Vint and Don could see that far into the future and imagine the limitless possibilities.
Who has that time and that energy and that passion? The answer is, you do. And 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.

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