Time Says You're the 'Person of the Year'

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According to Time magazine, you are the person of the year.

Yes, you, along with everyone else in the "digital democracy" blew other contenders, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and President Bush, out of the water (though both made it into the magazine's list of "People Who Mattered.")

In an age where MySpace, YouTube and blogs rule, Time chose to recognize the power of the common people who create and use content on the Internet.

On Sunday's "Good Morning America Weekend Edition," Time's Lev Grossman, who wrote the person of the year cover article, explained the reasoning behind the magazine's decision.

"When you're picking Time's person of the year, you play a little bit historian of the future," he said, "[asking] 'What is the story of 2006 that people will remember?' And more, I think, than any of the political or military stories, the shift in power from consumers of media becoming producers of the media … that will really change a lot of things."

Grossman cited the ability of the Internet to make or break the future of people in the public eye.

"If you look at what happened in the Virginia senate race with George Allen, who made his famous macaca gaffe, that is the kind of mistake a politician will make but because of YouTube, he will never get away from," he said, referring to the racial slur Allen used while on the campaign trail. "This is something people will see hundreds and hundreds of thousands of times. It killed his career."

The 2006 "Person of the Year" issue hits newsstands Monday. Instead of a traditional photograph, the cover of the iconic issue bears a mirror to let every reader know they're noteworthy. But Grossman said Time doesn't want people to take the magazine's appraisal too far.

"We don't want to sort of idealize this phenomenon too much. You're harnessing the wisdom of the crowd but also in some ways, there's stupidity. A site like Wikipedia, it sort of tests your willingness to be helpful," Grossman said, talking about the encyclopedia that invites anyone to edit or add to its entries.

"Some people vandalize it," Grossman added. "Some people add falsehoods, so you're getting this raw look at human nature and how we behave as a group. It's fascinating."

For more information on Time's person of the year, visit www.time.com.

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