Hats off to “You”

CIOL Bureau
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Shashwat Chaturvedi


MUMBAI: In 1982, Time Magazine had shocked many by naming “Computer” as the Person of the Year.

At that time, computers were transmuting from a bulky monster to a friendlier desktop.

IBM had introduced the successful range of personal computers, Apple was coming out with its own version and so were a few other players. IT industry as we know it, was taking shape on the potter’s wheel.


Now, more than a decade later, the fabled Time person has been announced again and this time it is “You”.

This “you” is not really the ‘you’, as you know it, but more to do with the ‘you’ in the Youtube.

Youtube is a place where people post homemade videos and more people view it. Launched last year by three Paypal employees, Youtube has taken up the online world by storm. Almost immediately, millions of people were swapping movies, starring their pet iguana or the darling baby taking the first tentative steps.


In November, Time magazine named Youtube as the Invention of the Year.

Meanwhile, the search giant at Mountain View was having troubles with its video ventures. Google Videos had not really turned out to be as amazing as they sounded. So, the moneybags at Google decided to acquire Youtube for a whopping $1.6 billion.

That’s as much as history goes. Coming back to Time magazine award, it is not as if the first time Time is talking about technology.


In 1997, it was Andrew Grove of Intel. In 1999, it was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and last year it was the Good Samartians, Bill and Melinda Gates and U2 lead singer Bono.

Yet, this time it is different.

While Youtube may be the awardee, the real winner is the idea behind the enterprise. The idea of collaboration, the concept we all refer to as Web 2.0.


Through 2006, in all most every sphere of the Internet, there is a distinct shift to collaboration. Call it democratization, if you will. Indeed the ivory towers are breaking up and on those ruins a new age is forming, an age where everyone is a contributor and a consumer. “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,” reads the article at Time.

For so many years we have been hearing about how Internet will break through the shackles of hardware and intelligence and become a part of our very lives. In many ways, this is happening, the semantic web that Tim Berners-Lee spoke about a few years ago is becoming a reality. Thus, in many ways the award is for all those millions, who make a point to be heard, share, criticize, lament, congratulate, exult, cry, etc. It is for all the millions on Orkut, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook and others.

“Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of six billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them,” reads the article.


To be true, we fortunate mortals are at that turning point in history and witness to how the world of the future will shape. A glorious world of brilliant possibilities lies ahead of us, within our very grasp, and all we need is a mere belief in “yourself”.

Here’s saluting ‘the you’.

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