Why You do NOT Deserve to be the TIME Magazine Person of the Year

Warning: This op-ed is extremely American-centric, since it’s where I live and what I know. I know that the Person of the Year can be from anywhere (or even a non-human), but I am focusing on America. Feel free to add comments or write your own if you can do better.

In what could be the greatest literary cop-out of this young century, TIME Magazine has surprised the world and selected YOU to be their annual Person of the Year. That’s right, they chose you.

Now, I know that 2006 has been quite a pathetic and abysmal year as far as world news goes, and the primary choices were bleak at best… but YOU? ME?!

TIME’s article is well-written, inspiring, and thought-provoking. But it’s also dead wrong. Here’s why:

Social Media – Few working for all

For starters, the report linked from this page states that only about 8% of people blog. While that’s not a bad number, but it’s certainly not enough to warrant any awards. And I seriously question the number of those blogs that are frequently updated.

If that’s not enough data, then look at this article: Top 100 Digg Users Control 56% of Digg’s Homepage Content. For those of you who don’t know, Digg.com is a community-based website that focuses primarily on technology and allows users to submit articles and digg, or vote, the popular ones to the front page.

Similarly, you can check out The Importance of 10%. This article spells out the 1:10:89 rule:

The 1% rule for social media, which says that for any group of 100 people, there will be 1 person that actually creates content, 10 people that interact with the content, and 89 that just view the content. This is also called the 1:10:89 Rule.

Those numbers might be a bit off, but you get the point: few do the work for many.The same goes for Wikipedia. See the article on Pareto Principle, and offending links therein.

And then, of course, there’s YouTube. The site whose success is almost entirely due to copyrighted Comedy Central clips and idiots setting themselves on fire and the like. How many of YOU have actually posted a video on YouTube though?

And for those of you that have posted something to YouTube, such as these girls in the hugely popular Hey Clip (which I can’t bring myself to watch more than 12 seconds of), good work – you just made someone else a boatload of money, courtesy of Google’s speculative investors. Why do you deserve an award for that?

So relatively few of you blog, submit articles to wikipedia, post videos on YouTube, or do anything collaborative on the Internet besides waste your time on MySpace (I’m not without guilt on this one). TIME has it all wrong.

I’m just getting started…

But now you got me mad, people. Not only are you undeserving of this award, you are undeserving of anything besides a slap in the face. Let’s take a look at how badly you’re screwing things up:

I’m not done yet…

And then there’s entertainment…

America, I really do love you. The fact that I am writing this (and that I can write this) proves that. But boy are you giving me the fits lately.

You need accountability. You need responsibility. Stop spending money that you don’t have, stop eating food you don’t need, and stop obsessing with insignificant things like gay marriage, marijuana prohibition, and Nicole Richie.

And stop pretending that you deserve to be the Person of the Year. Because you don’t.

2006 will go down as a horribly delusional year, and the only thing that’s worse is the aftermath that we’ll have to deal with in 2007.

Posted in by Berto.

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