After long years of patiently waiting, this week I was named Time's Person of the Year. No joke. It's right there on the cover of Time magazine that hit the news stands Monday. You probably thought the annual honor would go to President Bush or the Pope. But not this year. Nope, with great humility, I accept the prestigious honor as Time's Person of the Year.
Well actually, you can claim the honor as well. Time this year named "You" - as in all of us - for their 2006 honor. The magazine said that anyone who used the new "digital democracy" was in the honored category. We're all receiving the honor for slowly stepping into the age of new technology and broadening our horizons.
Time magazine has opted for a class of people instead of an individual for their annual honor in the past as well. The computer won the honor one year, the under-25 generation once was honored. But this year, we all share in the title. I'm working on new business cards that will certify me as the Time Person of the Year. This may well be my only opportunity.
I deal with a number of people within the newspaper profession who warmly embrace the new technology. They speak in a language foreign to my ears but they sure sound smart. Some even warn that the days of the traditional newspaper are numbered. But truthfully, I've heard this same familiar tune too many times in the past to get too excited.
I remember attending a conference in 1990 where we were warned that the emerging Internet was going to siphon away our readers. Instead, newspapers are among the leading innovators in delivering news through the Internet as well as the traditional home-delivered product. So I take all of these warnings with a level of suspicion.
Though I certainly won't fault Time magazine for their selection this year, I'm reminded once again that the Internet is simply a delivery system. It depends on content. In other words, it may be simple to access the Internet and it may be enjoyable, informative, etc. But if you can't find the content - like who was arrested last night and who died and what your city taxes will be next year - well then it's just a high speed delivery system with limitations.
Blackberries, MP3 players, iPods, etc. Welcome to the new age of technology. And remember as the noted philosopher Jessica Simpson said, "I totally don't know what that means, but I want it."
Congratulations on your award this year. And by the way, the award was announced in a magazine on the news shelves printed on paper just as it has been for nearly 100 years now. So much for technology!