Time Magazine, the popular choice of travellers at airport bookstores every year publishes it’s Person of the Year special. In the past Time has recognised such figures as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, The Apollo 8 astronauts, John F. Kennedy, and last year Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates.
This year in an inspired piece of journalism, Time has chosen You (us) the users of the internet who together are exploiting the small contributions of millions of other people and are collectively taking control of the information age. The cover of the magazine has a mylar screen in which you are supposed to see a reflection of yourself – does not quite work but a great idea.
As one would expect there is of course mention youTube, Flickr, wikipedia and the impact of blogging on mainstream journalism – this is all great so see presented to the wide readership of Time magazine, but key to me was the opinion that users were now filling the gaps left my mainstream content providers, and the default position was that such information would be shared with little restriction.
Within the niche that it Geographic Information we are of course beginning to see this happen also, with “free the postcode”, Openstreetmap, platial and of course the impact of Google Earth. There is of course enormous scope for community generated geographical information, after all we are all experts about our neighbourhoods, in many ways we are only beginning to see the potential of this which will develop I’m sure as rapidly in 2007 as it did in 2006.
Written and submitted from the BCS London Office, using its members broadband internet connection.