Surprise choice for Time's "Person Of The Year"--YOU!
"The person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."
That's the qualification for someone to be named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" and now the magazine has announced who their winner is for 2006.
In a year that had so many contenders for the highly-publicized title of "Person of the Year," the editors at Time went the unconventional route when they chose those of us who are on the cutting edge of information technology by participating in the ever-expanding blogosphere as the "person" that deserved this year's distinction.
That's right, Time magazine chose all of YOU who read, write, and visit blogs as their "Person of the Year" shutting out other potential nominees such as incoming Democrat House majority leader Nancy Pelosi (who I actually thought was a shoe-in for this after the Democrat Party regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 1994), Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and Iraq Study Group leader James Baker.
But I applaud Time for steering clear of the political angle this time around and making the selection more of an all-around award for the great seismic shift that is happening in the way we send and receive information in the 21st Century. Blogs aren't just some passing fancy that are here today, gone tomorrow. And to their credit, Time wanted to give those of us who have made blogging a part of our lives the recognition that our time and efforts merit.
A recent Pew Research survey found that while only 8 percent, or 12 million Americans, of the Internet population currently has a blog, an amazingly high 39 percent of them, or 57 million Americans, state they read blogs regularly. Time knows those numbers will undoubtedly continue to go up in 2007 and beyond.
With the sudden emergence of the popular blogging site MySpace.com and YouTube (which was recently bought by Google) in 2006, there is no denying the influence blogs are making because they give the traditional media their first real competition for eyeballs in the new media age.
"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," Time's Lev Grossman wrote about bloggers in the December 25, 2006 issue.
This is why you see traditional media outlets such as newspapers, television and radio stations creating message boards and blogs featuring their personalities to try to get their foot in the door on this new medium for reporting and providing commentary. But now the public has a choice about where to get their information rather than simply relying on the old school sources of information.
You'll notice the front cover of the 2006 "Person of the Year" issue of Time magazine, available on newstands on December 18, 2006, has a mirror on it to show the face of this new wave of innovation in modern communication.
"It literally reflects the idea that you, not us, are transforming the information age," Time's Richard Stengel explained.
What an honor to be a part of this group of people who are trying to make a difference using blogs to provide high-quality news, information and commentary to help educate and encourage others about weight loss and low-carb. That's why I was thrilled when FOXNews.com named my blog as a Top 10 health site a couple of week's ago. Slowly but surely the blogosphere is influencing culture in a big way and it's getting noticed more and more!
With so many people blogging about anything and everything, there's really no reason why EVERYONE shouldn't do even a little daily surfing to find a blog about a topic they like. And if for some reason there's something that interests you that isn't represented among the millions of blogs that are out there, then what better reason to start blogging yourself? That's the beauty of this format that has made it such a hit with an information-hungry public.
Grossman admitted 2006 was a transitionary year for blogs and they now stand ready to make even further strides into the mainstream in the next few years.
"It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes," Grossman remarked.
He added that the Internet has made the world a much smaller place than it has ever been before and bloggers are simply using this technology to provide the general public a new set of voices on a variety of subjects.
"It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter," Grossman concluded.
Stengel concurred by stating bloggers can provide instant feedback on the issues of the day and add their own unique contribution to the debate of ideas.
"These blogs...bring events to the rest of us in ways that are often more immediate and authentic than traditional media," he said.
When I started my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog in April 2005, I wasn't setting out to do anything except provide an outlet for my thoughts and ideas about low-carb and weight loss. I was already writing about a variety of subjects at a pseudo-blog called CommonVoice.com, but wanted a more personal way to connect and interact with people struggling with obesity and health-related issues. Thus was birthed this blog you are reading right now.
I never would have guessed my blog would now be attracting nearly 100,000 pageviews a month or be acknowledged by influential health personality Dr. Dean Ornish as a "powerful force" for educating the public on diet and health. Whoa! This blogging thing has been quite a ride for me and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down at all.
That's okay with me. My life was changed forever when I lost nearly 200 pounds on the low-carb lifestyle in 2004 and now this blog is my daily outlet for sharing my life's experiences to help others. Time magazine realizes bloggers like me are among a new generation of people changing the landscape of journalism and the open debate of ideas.
The newspapers once ruled the day until radio came along. Radio then took over until network television took its place. Then television took another turn when cable television swooped in to attract a new audience in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, talk radio once again changed the way society gets its information while in the late 1990s, the Internet became the flavor of the moment. In 2006, it's blogging, baby!
I will continue to blog about low-carb, weight loss, health, diet and nutrition as long as there is interest in what I am writing about. Perhaps this focus on blogs by Time magazine will introduce millions upon millions of new readers to hop on the blogosphere for perhaps the very first time in 2007 and I'll stand ready to serve them with the information and interaction they are looking for.
On behalf of all bloggers everywhere, let me say a hearty THANK YOU to Time for honoring our efforts and giving us the proper respect that we so aptly deserve for what we do. Much of the mainstream media is so shellshocked by the emergence of bloggers that they really don't know whether to love or hate us. Don't worry! We're just a bunch of harmless, yet passionate group of writers who seek to change the world one post at a time! :D