My Highest Honor--Person of the Year

Dr. Ray Pritchard

I don't know if you heard, but I was just named Person of the Year by Time Magazine. No kidding. You would think that in a year filled with international tension that they would have chosen someone like President Bush or the president of Iran or that crazy guy who runs North Korea. Or you might think they would have gone after Taylor Hicks (the current American Idol) or maybe Brad and Angelina or maybe Peyton Manning or possibly whoever invented pepper-coated salami. But, no, they picked me. I was stunned when I got the news because I haven't done anything earth-shaking this year, at least not yet. I've traveled quite a bit but so have lots of other people. I've written lots of blog entries but so have millions of others. The whole thing is baffling to me, but I wish to thank Time Magazine for this great honor.

My glory was short-lived when I discovered that everyone was named Person of the Year. That came as an even greater shock. It turns out that they named You as the Person of the Year. It's a little strange, but they're talking about what they call Web 2.0, how Internet users have revolutionized the way the world works.

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," which is a cool way of saying that blogging is cool and bloggers are on the cutting edge of societal evolution, a fact I've tried to point out from time to time. When I started blogging, back in the dark ages of 2003, most people had never heard the term so I had to explain it. Over and over and over. But not anymore. These days everyone under 30 already has a blog or a MySpace page or a video blog on YouTube or a Facebook page or a Xanga page. And even some of the over-30 crowd (the 'senior adults' of society) have joined the party.

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.

I'm really happy to share this high honor with about a billion other people who are online--and the millions more that join us every day. If you are reading this, it means that you are not only enlightened and progressive, you also the Person of the Year, and I proudly salute you.

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