Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You 2.0

Time magazine, snapping its fingers to the Web 2.0 beat like your dad at a wedding, has selected You as its Person Of The Year. At CiF yesterday, Jeff Jarvis said hooray; today, I say hmmm. What do you, or rather You, think? Comments here or (if you can cope with the virtual bearpit) make free with them there.


patroclus said...

Nooooo, I'll be here all day! And I've got a brochure to write about software for bidet manufacturers!

I reckon Wired did Time's job for it in August last year, with its super We Are The Web article. Note 'we', not 'you'.

But I'm more inclined to side with Time than with Jeff Jarvis, who I think is a rampant jumped-up egotist who presumes to speak on behalf of all bloggers and youtubers and what have you just because he's got a bleeding column in the bleeding Media Guardian.

If blogging is what you say it is, Jeff Jarvis, then why do you even need a column in the Media Guardian, you dolt. Why not just stay down here with the rest of us? But no, you have to have your little podium, to show you know best.

And Napster may have been incorporated by big business, but a ton of free music sites sprang up in its place, not least the Hype Machine. The same will be true of YouTube, and yea even eventually unto Blogger, when they start making us run ads.

Nice work Tim, I'm coming back later for another go.

LC said...

I think it's a bit of a cop-out. Sure, there are momentous changes happening in the web and media which will have far reaching consequences for society, and it's all deeply fascinating stuff which certainly deserves recognition.

But with all that's happened in the world this year there are a lot of strong individual candidates for person of the year.

Anonymous said...

My head says "hooray!" but my heart says "hmmmmm...."

Not least because Jarvis has a neck like a giraffe and you, Tim, are devastatingly handsome.

Frivolous and shallow as the Goodwin Sands, I know, but it takes all sorts.

Tim Footman said...

Oh go and sort them out, Patroclus, I'm so tired with these people. About the only worthwhile response on this article (CiF, I mean) comes from Lucien, and yes, flattery will get you everywhere, dear boy.

LC: Apparently, Time gave up on offering any challenging candidates for PoY in 2001 when the only real contender (Osama) was spiked because they didn't want to upset advertisers. I don't know whether Chavez was really in the running this year, but I can believe it. Who'd be on your list?

I'd go with Paul Giamatti because I'm turning into him.

Spinsterella said...

Hitler, Stalin.

It gets worse. You forgot George W an Bobo.

Time person(s) of the year has always been a load of bollocks.

Interesting comment from that bloke about the voting.

Spinsterella said...

Um, I did mean Bono, but I don't think Bobo's a bad name for him.

(Sorry. Can blog, can't type)

patroclus said...

People are always all like 'if blogging is so great, why hasn't it changed anything yet?'. To which I say: calm yourselves, children. All the best revolutions are slow revolutions. Blogging is still in its infancy. By the time it starts changing things it'll be so ingrained we won't be able to remember a time before blogging, and we won't remember what the things were that it changed.

I'm still betting on blogging eventually bringing about the demise of the lifestyle columnist. Because by and large they so do not deserve to be paid for what they do, when hundreds upon thousands of people are writing more compelling personal journalism, every day, for free.

patroclus said...

Also, 'Person of the Year' is this much bollocks. How can one person be singled out from all others, across all areas of life, across the globe, as having been the most important? It's the epitome of rampant American capitalist individualism. And I say bollocks to the cult of individualism, because the cult of individualism almost always favours men.

Sorry, bit hormonal (hee hee) and angry today.

Tim Footman said...

Oh, Patroclus, I wouldn't worry your pretty little head about such things. Milk, no sugar, while you're there.

Spin: I thought George W was Bobo. The heir to Bonzo.

patroclus said...

Tim, that's uncanny, for I was just in the kitchen, actually making a cup of tea, and thinking 'I bet someone responds to that outburst by telling me not to worry my pretty little head about such things'.

I'm going to stop now, before I become one of those psycho serial commenters.

Anonymous said...

"That Bongo geezer" as the sainted Barnie from New Order once accurately described him.

It's a very sore subject, this ... every year I await the letter telling me I've been nominated and every year they let me down.

LC said...

Oh I dunno - if we're going to pick somebody and say "Well done, this year you have done more than any other individual to change the world for the better" there must be a few names in the hat, giving the prize to everybody is pretty lame.

For my money I'd throw in Warren Buffet ($30billion to humanitarian causes), Richard Dawkins (leading the campaign against religious fundamentalism in the west). OK, Buffet is an evil capitalist who's just realised he can't take it with him, and Dawkins is a rampaging self publicist - but if we have to pick somebody...

Spinsterella said...

And another thing.

Bloggers (and other web 2.0 types) are only deemed to have become important by the mainstream media when they become well enough known that they get mentioned in the mainstream media.

So when they say 'YOU' are they just referring to the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and that Huffington woman?

Or do they actually mean all of us? The millions of us who are scribbling away with half-a-dozen readers. If we're lucky?

(Sorry, I'll go away now too. I'm defrosting the freezer.)

patroclus said...

They picked 15 of 'Us' to illustrate their point, Spin. I had an issue with that, too. (It's not about individuals! It's about the collective! The long tail, dammit!).

I have a lot of issues today.

Why haven't I written the bathroom software brochure yet?

Anonymous said...

Will the bidets in your brochure rely on User Generated Content Patroclus?

Anonymous said...

P now you have to come up for a name for the blogging revolution, velvet's already taken. I'd vote for the whispering revolution, or the ranting revolution or the turning of the worms.

Tim Footman said...

It never ceases to amaze me how much more civilised the comments are here, compared to the feral oiks who cluster around my offerings at CiF. This is the big media/blogosphere divide in action, the whole point of my post, and they're too busy waging their bizarre little wars to join the dots.

What about the Revolving Revolution? Everybody gets a chance to be Lenin.

patroclus said...

Yes, I often think we're very lucky that our corner of blogworld is so friendly. It's not the same everywhere: I enjoyed reading that this year's Anglo-Franco blogging extravaganza once again ended with someone calling someone else an asshole, just like it did last year. Those A-list bloggers, *honestly*.

llewtrah said...

I gave up on Time's Person of the Year. The Onion's version is much more entertaining. And considering what passes for news these days, the Onion is dangerously close to be a serious newsfeed.

Valerie said...

Was this an invitation to fume?
I hope so.

To be fair, it's been years since Time has failed to take the easy way out on its Man of the Year choices. Despite their claims that it should be the biggest newsmaker of the year worldwide, it's very clearly US-centric and it's just as clearly BS. When they refused to put Osama bin Laden up there, they were only confirming what we'd long known: this claim is 100% shiny bullshit.

But even knowing this, they could have gone so many other ways. They could have (again, given that they're going to be US-centric anyway) picked the Democrats. Or voters -- how about voters? Or someone like Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, who is definitely a blogger who is, in fact, changing things. Or heck, perhaps step out of their little US-centric suit for a moment? But I'm not hoping for miracles here. I would only hope for something marginally less last-card-ish than this choice.

What are they going to do next time they can't think of anything that won't scare the sponsors? Pick the US news media?

I shudder to think.

Valerie said...

I'm with llewtrah on the Onion. The scariest thing about it is just how much more accurate it is than the aforementioned US news media..

Do I lose out on being "friendly" because I used the BS-word?

US corporate news media just gives me a gut-ache.

Billy said...

Problem is on the Guardian you don't have a link to your website. If anyone came on my blog and was rude, (not that anyone has, praise be!) I'd go on theirs and tell them they're a poohead or something equally as articulate.

patroclus said...

Billy is right: here there is a social contract between us that means we have to interact as real people, using real social etiquette. We can't just have a go at each other with no fear of redress. The same would be true of CiF if the playing field between posters and commenters was equal. Good on Tim for getting in with the commenters and replying to them.

Anyway, Tim, I conquered the fear and commented there, and then realised I made a horrible grammatical mistake in the first sentence that by rights should put an end to my illustrious bathroom-software-brochure-writing career.

Spinsterella said...

I'm puzzled about bathroom software. We just have plumbing in ours and it seems to work just fine...

You used to be able to link on the Guradian like proper blogs. Then when they introduced CiF (to be more inclusive, apparently) they got rid.

Mr Pike Bishop and all those other twats would probably be a bit more polite if they know we could all go round their place for a visit any time we liked.

Tim Footman said...

The notion of being described as a poohead by Billy is rather more upsetting than anything the CiF thugs might conjure up. I'm getting quite tearful just thinking about it.

Good stuff there Patroclus, although a link to the Evening Standard tornado story might have summed it all up. Why wait for bloggers to destroy lifestyle journalism, when lifestyle journalists seem quite capable.

Betty said...

A bit of a sweeping generalisation from Jeff Jarvis. We can change the world? A pretty exclusive "we", I would guess. Most bloggers are still fairly materially wealthy, well educated professionals. Even owning a computer is beyond the means of a lot of people in the world. Oh, and the blogs that are receiving the most recognition are written in English. The "you" seems to exclude a lot of people - generally the ones who've never had access to a public platform.

Tim Footman said...

Spin: Pike Bishop has actually been lured out of commentsville and is allowed to do his own posts. Unfortunately this also means he's got his picture in the public domain. The sort of image that's usually followed by Nick Ross looking serious.

And Valerie, Anthony, LC, etc: surely the sole purpose of Time magazine is to make you feel a tiny bit superior to the people leafing through Readers Digest as they wait for the dentist?

patroclus said...

Tim stop making me laugh while I am on conference calls.

Spin: it is software for people who sell bathrooms. They need special software, yes they do. Mind you, I have a client whose office toilets are over-engineered practically to the point of actually wiping your arse for you. I might write a post about that one day.

Betty: I do believe the majority of bloggers (depending on what you call a 'blogger', of course), and certainly the majority of youtube users are kids, rather than educated professionals. And there are now more blogs in Chinese and Japanese than there are in English.

While I'm about it, I see you (Tim) gave credence to that Gartner nonsense that says blogging has reached critical mass. If Gartner could see out of its own arse, which it usually can't (and I seriously doubt whether anyone at Gartner even knew what a blog was before mid-2004), it would realise that its 'blogs will top out at 100 million' prediction is a bit like that time IBM said it could see a market for six computers worldwide.

Tim Footman said...

Betty: My point exactly. 'You' in this instance is people who read Time. Or people who are deemed by the marketing department as being desirable readers. As Fawlty's Gourmet Night ad put it, no riff raff.

Patroclus: I don't buy Gartner. Read again - "conceptual ceiling" was intended to imply the essential meaninglessness of the idea (just as the four-minute mile became meaningless once it was broken, as will the two-hour marathon). BUT there is a sound point in amongst the headline stuff about all those short-lived and inactive blogs. Does it require the easy availability of platforms to convince people that they have nothing particularly useful or interesting to say?

The art critic David Lee, in a debate about accessibility, suggested that 50% of the British population, presented with free access to every masterpiece of Western art from the last 500 years, in the house next door, would rather watch telly. He was suggesting that there's a certain point at which it's pointless to encourage some people to look at paintings. Perhaps Gartner's suggestion is that blogging's ceiling comes when it reaches the people who have nothing to bring to the party. Remember, there are still millions of people in the UK who have the resources to get online, and they just don't give a toss. Same with reading, or healthy eating. There's only so far you can push.

And in Japan, there are toilets that do just that.

Anonymous said...

I'm a poohead.

My staff are pooheads.

I want to find a place where I can meet and socialise with other pooheads.

Have I come to the right place?

patroclus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
patroclus said...

I'll bet that Gartner's relying on Technorati's stats, which are incredibly flaky. There is no way you can count or predict the number of 'blogs', because they're so unstable. I've changed my URL five times over the past five years, resulting in four dead blogs (which were really only ever one blog anyway), yet the good ship Quinquireme sails on. (And on. And on.)

And what about people who keep journals on e.g. last.fm? My brother has a lovely, if occasional, journal on there, with full-on comment functionality and everything. They aren't called blogs, and I can bet Gartner isn't counting them, but to all intents and purposes they are blogs.

What you *can* count, and more easily, is the number of bloggers. Once the big-time survey monkeys start asking actual real people if they keep a blog, rather than relying on Technorati's stats, then we'll have a better view of how many bloggers - rather than blogs - there are, and whether or not they are educated, wealthy, anglophone professionals. And I'm not convinced they will be, to be honest.

And with kids routinely using the internet at school, and mobile phone operators letting them get on MySpace on their phones, such that it's becoming so much a part of their lives that they aren't even *aware* they're doing anything revolutionary, I don't see the growth in user-generated content halting any time soon, sorry Gartner.

Quality of user-generated content, of course, is a completely different debate.

Oh god, I'm really sorry, I could go on all day.

Anonymous said...

My flatmate told me, "Time magazine chose you as their person of the year!"

I started doing my happy dance and everything, this is better than getting on Richard & Judy, hey? Then I realised he meant "you" as in tinternet.


Betty said...

I'm aware that there are lots of non-English blogs out there: a click on the Next Blog option is as likely to show you a blog written in Portuguese or Japanese as anything, but the ones that are getting recognition from the "old" media tend to be in English.

If there is a revolution going on it's probably being led by young people. As Patroclus suggested, they tend to take for granted access to and use of technology. Among people I know in their 30's/40's, blogging is still seen as a cult interest. I try to explain that I have a blog and I'm usually greeted with suspicion, as if I've just said that I'm a Scientologist.

It really is time I got me coat.

Anonymous said...

patroclus.....stop wittering....I really really want that new suite by Xmas with full office functionality and super soft Linux paper please

patroclus said...

Clodhopper: No problem. Would you like your Wii to run on Windows, or is that going to upset the neighbours?

Also Murph: I keep forgetting to say, that UGC comment really made me laugh?

patroclus said...

One too many question marks there, sorry.

I'm going now.

Tim Footman said...

Oooh, seems as if a truce has fallen over at CiF-land, albeit one imposed by Auntie Georgina. Reckon they'll start playing footy in the mud?

Lucien: All bodily emissions welcome here.

Annie R: You can go on the front of my copy of Time. Just don't wield the rabbit, OK?

Betty: If the stats are correct, there must be some people who give you funny looks, but are actually blogging in secret. It's like people in the Resistance having to consort with Nazis to provide cover, and then getting beaten up after the war.

Clodhopper: See my response to Lucien.

Patroclus: I just thought you were employing that interrogative inflection, like Australians and cretins do. Not that you're Australian. ;-P

lee said...

hey, what are you implying about Australians ;).

Anonymous said...

I think Tim's meaning the rising inflexion of Oz-Speak isn't he??
Although talking of cretins, I believe Lembit Opik is very big down under.

patroclus said...

Wait a second, did Tim just call me a cretin?

Compliments of the season to you too, Mr Footman!

Tim Footman said...

Ach, you forgot the all-encompassing get-out card that is the ;-P emoticon. Which means I don't mean it. Doesn't it? Like when Angus Deayton used to say "allegedly"?

cowers before the righteous wrath of the queen of all she blogs

And a happy Winterval to you too, honeybunch.

llewtrah said...

I want to say poohead too!

"Poohead too"

Thank you for allowing me this self-expression opportunity.