This year, “TIME Person of the Year: You” feels like the gasping, desperate “we get it” of OM. Does anything sound more square than “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.” Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”
Ugh. "Welcome to your world" is a sentence so lame it almost makes me want to close down the newly opened shop. And it’s really not a contest. There is a deep need for the resources, expertise, and talents of professional journalism. If OM wasn’t reeling from the scandals of Rathergate and the likes of Stephen Glass, it wouldn’t doubt itself so.
What sets the blog apart from the Op-Ed page and page one isn’t “beating the pros at their own game,” but the sheer creativity that is part of the blog essence. Blogs are fabulously individual and creative. Even just the naming of a blog requires thought that can be pushed to wit. The form just begs for and rewards connections and allusions to other cultural forms. Even the more journalistic blogs, like the extraordinary posts from the soldiers in Iraq, show a wide range of sensibility from their titles: All Along the Watch Tower, Hello from Hell, Blogs of War—each telling a story imbued with a personal sensibility.
The real point is this: the blog/vlog has unleashed an explosion of creativity upon the world--geographically, not metaphorically--the reach, depth, and scope of which has never been seen. What will this torrent of creative energy lead too? When the ripple effects of the user-generated revolution can be detected and articulated, that will be the story of the century.