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Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006 You --Yes, You --Are TIME's Person of the Year

Summary: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006
You -- Yes, You -- Are TIME's Person of the Year
In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small
contributions of millions of people and making them matter
The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle,
who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the
few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a
serious beating this year.
To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that
happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish
erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea
got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global
warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.
But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or
great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the
cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube
and the online metropolis MySpace. 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.


Source: Henry, Richard C.- Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University


Collections: Physics