“Time” magazine just arrived in my snail-mail box. On the cover was my own mug staring back at me. Seems I’m “Time” magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year. So are you, and so is anyone you know who ever created content and put it online. “Time” also extended this honor to anyone who consumes online content:
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.
While we bask in the glory of this accolade, I have to ask: what took them so long? In December 2004, Roy H. Williams wrote:
The Age of the Baby Boomer ended in 2003. The torch has been handed to a new generation with new ideas and values. Sure, we Boomers still hold the power at the top, but the prevailing worldview that drives our nation is completely other than the one we grew up with. Businesses that don’t get in step with the new world order are going to find it increasingly difficult to succeed.
Being a Baby Boomer isn’t about when you were born. It’s about how you see the world.
Baby Boomers were idealists who worshipped heroes, perfect icons of beauty and success. Today these icons are seen as phony, posed and laughable. Our cool as ice, suave lady’s man James Bond has become the comic poser Austin Powers or the tragically flawed and vulnerable Jason Bourne of “The Bourne Identity.” That’s the essence of the new worldview; the rejection of delusion, a quiet demand for gritty truth.
In 2006, we witnessed what Williams called “a quiet demand for gritty truth” mature into a riotous call to arms. Monsters like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, digg, and the rest of the Web 2.0 love babies came into their own, devouring big business and media egos in their wake. We moved from an era of individualistic my.website.com to a social, community-oriented view of our.website.com.
This wasn’t the year customers finally took control, it was the year big marketers and big media figured out they’d been in control all along.