It's decided...the You-sers have won. In TIME Magazine's 2006 "Person of the Year Award, the winner is you". This year's upsurge in user-centric social media that TIME Magazine has deemed "a community and collaboration on a scale never seen before" has made this year's winner the average users behind this social networking phenomenon. "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."
Noting that the "cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes." The article goes on to say that although this year's social networking craze was made possible by the Internet, and Silicon Valley's attempts to coin this phenomenon as "Web 2.0", TIME's technical writer Lev Grossman stresses that what is actually happening is a people's revolution. "It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter."
This clever acknowledgement of UGC by a major media outlet such as TIME, is the perfect note for social media to end the year on. 2006 will one day be looked back on as the year the world of information changed forever. TIME's editor Richard Stengel stated that "journalists once had the exclusive province of taking people to places they'd never been. But now a mother in Baghdad with a videophone can let you see a roadside bombing, or a patron in a nightclub can show you a racist rant by a famous comedian."
This revolution has not only stripped away the power of propaganda from major M&E's, but it has truly democratized media in a way that allows the whole world to form an unfiltered opinion about current events. Opinions about topics ranging from politics to fashion will forever be decided by the populations who have real-time access to information.