WHEN a year lacks a figure worthy of being named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine, its editors can always fall back on an institution or just an idea that has caught a lot of people's imagination. That's what they've done for 2006. The cover of the magazine is dominated by a single word, “You”, set against a background of a computer screen and keyboard. Time's/ point is that 2006 saw huge growth in the use of the World Wide Web by individuals who made their presence felt in countless ways, from the instant encylopedia Wikipedia to the “million-channel people's network “You Tube”. The year was, Time thinks, a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before and about “a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.” Few people who use the internet regularly would dispute that it has effected a revolution in access to information that once would take hours to find in libraries and whose existence one might not even be aware of. However, whether this really amounts to more than the accumulation of random information which still requires analysis and editing before it can be useful must remain open to doubt. Time talks about “the many wresting the power from the few” and helping them to change the world and the way the world changes. Revolutionary thoughts from the heirs to Henry Luce's communications empire.


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