It's All About YOU - For 15 Minutes


On my way back from Boston yesterday I picked up a copy of Time at Logan Airport. After playing with the Mylar cover and hoping that the Person Of The Year 2006 .. which is me - you - and everyone else who has access to the Big WWW .. didn't really belong  in a carnival sideshow, I jumped into Richard Stengel's (managing editor)To Our Reader's column. It was my first of several hints that Time's understanding of social media is more like the acts under the big top than walking the midway with the people.

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the visibility lift that Time has given social media. However, in taking a closer look at the Time Person of The Year issue, I'm not sure that Time gets it.

It's the little things that make the difference. Girlfriend, first I want to know why Time_richard_stengel_cover_2006 Richard Stengel's Mylar image was not blurred or disorted like mine or yours but looked like a professional photo. Oh .. perhaps because it was not a Mylar image but it was an air brushed professionally shot photograph. Very un bloggy.

Stengel wrote, "Journalists once had the exclusive power of taking people to places they'd never been." Hmm .. my kindergarten teacher told me that books would do that .. perhaps I was too busy coloring .. I don't recall mention of journalists or reporters having exclusivity on that concept. Very un bloggy.

Time dedicated over 30 pages to 2006 Person Of The Year. Cool. Lots of great stories about people who are using technologies to tell the world about their lives. However, what I found even more interesting was that the Person Of The Year - YOU - didn't spill over into Time's stories like People Who Mattered or Farewell or 10 Best Movies, Books, TVShows, Albums, Sports Moments. So okay perhaps YouTube videos don't make it as a real flicks and social media authors are not really important enough to be part of the 10 Best and no YOU people mattered enough to be sung Farewell to ..

That was my last tip off that Time didn't get it. There was no integration. Rather it was like a carnival show with YOU as part of the side show and THEM as the main acts under the big top. Oh well, as Time's last story, Andy Was Right, reinforced. It's an Andy Warhol 15-minute of fame world .. and YOU now have had yours. Collectively YOU might be important but not too many of YOU will cross over into Time's People Who Matter.

But don't fret .. in addition to some interesting blog posts about the You as the Time Person of the Year, it's great for the late night comedians. And there's always 2007 for Time to get it.


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Tracked on Dec 21, 2006 5:43:27 PM


Toby, awesome post. You're spot on.

Posted by: Kalyn on Dec 19, 2006 11:40:31 PM

I absolutely love John Stewart. He should be Person of the Year next year.

Yes to all of your points. TIME doesn't actually "get it", but for the moment I am willing to let them be clueless because those of us who do get it are in a position to help those who want to get it. I'm happy about that.

Posted by: Tim Jackson on Dec 20, 2006 1:44:13 PM

It's not important if the mainstream media, as represented by Time Magazine get social media and blogs. They don't really want to get it. The MSM sees blogs and other social media as direct competition. The Person(s) of the Year acknowledge that competition, while at the same time marginalizing social media people. You hit that issue right on the nose, Toby. By placing social media outside of their exclusive tent, Time can now safely say the MSM are all that really matter. The MSM will say Time looked at this "blog thing", and declared it to what amounts to a fad to be safely ignored, and joining the pet rock in the dustbin of history.

Little does Time Magazine, and the rest of the MSM realize, bloggers and other social media practitioners are growing in influence right in front of their very eyes. They can pretend to trivialize us, but we are not going away.

We don't need Time's blessing. We are doing it for ourselves, and doing it our way. It's the MSM that is moving to the margins; not the social media. Bloggers are not going to be here for 15 minutes. It's going to be a much longer stay whether Time, or the rest of the MSM, admits it or not.

Posted by: Wayne Hurlbert on Dec 21, 2006 10:41:23 AM

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