The New Digital Democracy
We continue to sift through your reactions to having been named Person of the Year, reactions that range from the giddily delighted to the grandly disappointed. Many of you who are strict advocates of the "Great Man" view of the world let us know just who should have taken your place on the cover
I was delighted by TIME's choice for Person of the Year [Dec. 25, 2006--Jan. 1, 2007]. It was well-deserved recognition for the Internet users who are coming together to shape the future in virtually every sphere of our lives. But it is also an opportunity to reflect on how the Internet is a product of the work of collaborating communities, which means there is no central control. Open standards and collaboration, rather than top-down or centralized governance, have ensured that the Internet's development remains in the hands of those who know most what they need.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNET SOCIETY
I'm guessing I'm not the only reader who saw that the Person of the Year was "You" and said, "Ewww." It's sad that a once important cultural touchstone has devolved into the equivalent of everyone-gets-a-trophy day at summer camp.
Your selection reflects the reality that more than ever, people are not merely observers but participants in a world that we are creating. It's a good time to recall Albert Einstein's words: "The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
TIME is right. It is the age of "Me." Cell-phone users hold personal conversations loud enough for the world to hear. Drivers swerve down the freeway, coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other, honking and worrying about no one but themselves. Totally uninteresting people make videos describing their lives. Has all this noise made things better? Maybe the next Persons of the Year should be "They," so people might actually consider the existence of other human beings.
TIME finally figured out who is important. It's not the pundits from the press, cable or radio freak shows, not the politicians or bureaucrats, not even the business fat cats who influence the politicians. It's us--the taxpayers, consumers, employees and workers--who make this country tick. Wake up, America! You are in control. So take advantage of it.
If Not You, Then Who?
Your Person of the Year stories completely missed the real power of the Internet [Dec. 25, 2006--Jan. 1, 2007]. You should have honored the altruistic Craig Newmark for his network of online urban communities, Craigslist.org Just ask any recent college grad who is looking for a job, an apartment, a date, an affordable car or a buyer for an old laptop. Craigslist isn't fluff but the real stuff of daily life.
HENRY M. CAROSELLI
Manhattan Beach, Calif.