TIME magazine’s Person of the Year 1982 and 2006

In 2006 learning technologists were patting ourselves on the back because TIME’s Person of the Year was… Us. And also you, Jacqui next door, my friend MattP (but not Mr Patel on the other side who still uses fax). By 2007 Web2.0 – the read/write Web – has allowed Internet uploads to approach parity with downloads as we submit our videos, mashups, photos, weblog posts, reviews, votes and comments. Lev Grossman asks:

Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I’m going to mash up 50 Cent’s vocals with Queen’s instrumentals? I’m going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. 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 read recently in John Potter’s Telling Tales on Technology: Qualitative Studies of Technology and Education that TIME’s 1982 Person – or was it still ‘Man’? – of the Year was the computer and spent a long time thinking about everything computers have influenced since 1982. Then it was the first ever object to win the distinction, which probably reflected the anxiety that computers would steal our jobs and our identities if not our women. So it seems fitting that 14 or so years later You took back Your identity and assumed the mantle of deprofessionalising photography, journalism and education to boot.

By 2015 I predict a cyborg Person of the Year with part of her brain on a server in Manhattan and her nervous system connected to Kevin Warwick.


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