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Congratulations to YOU!

Well, I guess it’s finally time to update that awards and honors section of my resume. After years of languishing without proper recognition, I have finally received the praise I so rightly deserve: Time has named me its Person of the Year for 2006.

Yes, the list that began in 1927 with Charles Lindbergh and has since included presidents, a pope, tyrants, scientists and activists now includes yours truly. Well, actually it includes you, too.

When Time’s Person of the Year issue hit newsstands this week, many were surprised to see themselves staring back from the mirrored cover. It’s a clever way for Time to reflect (pun intended) the people the magazine says now control the information age: Each and every one of us. From YouTube to MySpace, from Facebook to blogs, like this one, everyone with an Internet connection has the opportunity to expound for all the world to see what’s going on. Yes, power is truly with the people. Sure, multinational billion-dollar conglomerates still control the airwaves. But the digital age is giving everyone access that no one can really harness. And that is both a good and a bad thing.

I’m not going to go as far as to say that only trained journalists should be trusted to accurately report the news, because I’ve known plenty of trained journalists I wouldn’t trust to turn on the TV for me, let alone report the news on one. But at least we professionals have some level of accountability. The one problem with the ability for anyone and everyone to ply their prophecies without restraint is that too many people buy into a whole lot of junk. By reading this blog, I hope you consider my credentials as a journalist and the standards I use in my profession to establish a level of trust for what I write here. If that’s not enough, you can at least count on the fact that my boss approves each of my blog entries before they are posted online, though I must confess he did not read this one, instead deciding to trust that I wouldn’t go off the deep one and offend anyone after hearing a summary of what I wrote. Most people in the blogosphere don’t have even that simple step of outside review.

I’m the last person who would ever tell someone they shouldn’t say what they want. I just wish more people would use some constraint or even just some common sense. But let’s face it: That’s not gonna happen. Given an unlimited soapbox, a lot of people are gonna stand up and shout what they think as loud as they can. That being the case, it’s up to you to exercise your common sense and figure out which sources in this digital world are reliable and even safe. After all, you are Time’s Person of the Year. From here on out you’ll be held to a higher standard.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo

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