So as you’ve no doubt heard,Time has decided that the Person of the Year is the users of Web 2 apps who are, uh, revolutionizing the world as we know it or something like that:
Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I’m going to mash up 50 Cent’s vocals with Queen’s instrumentals? I’m going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?
The answer is, you do. And 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.
Sure, why not, (though I kind of liked Muhammad Yunus)?
The LA Times, for their part, have offered Ten moments the web shook the world which, like the Time story, struck me because although it doesn’t make it explicit, it shows what a big chunk of this ‘revolution’ is fan-driven:
They start with Snakes on a Plane:
No, “Snakes on a Plane” did not go on to challenge “Titanic’s” box office record, but it did become the first studio release entirely championed, developed and, for a time it seemed, directed by film fans on the Internet. The moment when the movie’s cast and crew went back to the cameras for Internet-ordered, gore-boosting re-shoots will go down in history as the first time the Web grabbed the production reins away from movie producers.
Then they trash the promo site for the movie Running Scared:
the studio created a game that allowed visitors to take on the role of hero Joey Gazelle, played in the film by Paul Walker. Players could dive into the game to shoot it out with bad guys, drive fast cars … and perform oral sex on Gazelle’s wife, with an interactive guide showing to how to do so more effectively. After a few raised eyebrows in the mainstream media, New Line removed the game.
Lonely Girl shows up next (” The most riveting entertainment story of the year was neither the Mel Gibson nor Tom Cruise”), along with a number of other ordinary folks who became web stars through these new platforms. MySpace, which has transcended being a fan space, but still uses fandom as a major point of similarity-assessment, gets a paragraph.
They include a dose of politics (George Allen’s Macaca moment) which could be interpreted as a move by a Webb fan to discredit Allen (and which is very reminiscent of the Two Gallants arrest in Houston fan vids on YouTube).
All of which is to say that in the big picture of ‘ordinary people are becoming media producers’ narrative, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re seeing a new mainstreaming of fandom and a shift that makes it easier for ordinary folks to become objects of fandom. If you tell the “Web 2″ story and don’t talk about the centrality of fans, you’re missing a huge piece of the plot.