In 2006, TIME’s Annual Person of the Year was named and it took most of us off guard. They named the person, and that person was: ‘YOU’. That’s right, you! You were the person of the year: you, as in the viewer, the fan, the mover and the shaker.
And it was a good call at the time. In fact, what was most interesting was, despite TIME’s seemingly concrete tradition of naming a specific man/woman/group as POTY, a precedent was set that now begs to be topped. Side note: Photo to the left is Wallis Simpson, the woman who made King George VI’s Brother give up the throne, and the first Woman Person of the Year.
So I propose a new take on it. How about: ‘The Year of Me’? And no, I don’t mean ME as in Melanie Reiffenstein – that would be something. I am referring to all of us in the first person.
OK, Mel, how does that make sense? YOU is referring to ME, right? Not exactly. And before jumping on me like I’m a narcissist or a biter, let’s review the facts.
Never before have we all been in such a spotlight. I watched a TED talk that highlighted how human beings are constantly at the pinnacle of information overload. Every day is the pinnacle, as every day there is more and more data at our fingertips. Our rate of growth is extensive and this is because we are all contributors.
Social Darwinism emerged with trends like FOMO (fear of missing out) where it was all about ‘see or be seen’, and the former was a bad thing. And don’t forget, nothing is official until it is FBO (Facebook Official) like a romance or a party.
Memes scatter across my Facebook newsfeed and garner thousands of likes in mere minutes. With material like the Mayans, the election, Facebook’s controversial privacy updates, the train wreck that is Rob Ford, and the monkey at Ikea, this year’s list goes on. 2012 was an inspirational year for meme writers. Well done clever people, well done. Everyone has a chance to showcase their own funny – hence, ‘me-me’ popped up everywhere.
Another one: “There’s a reason why my phone has a camera on both sides – one to take pics of me head-on, and the other to take pics of me in the mirror.” Being able to photograph your life’s moments and instantly broadcast them has changed the face of social, literally. While you could always post these to Facebook, platforms like Instagram take it to the next level. The focus is on ‘me’.
I’m all for the Person of the Year being Me. As an avid social geek I have taken part in all of what I’ve discussed and know many of you have to. So, I propose this to TIME Magazine and have only one thing to add: #YOLO.
(Besides, if it ends up being the Year of the Mayans I’ll sign up for the next Red Bull jump.)
You can follow @MelanieReiff on Twitter or read her blog ademoiselle.com.