Friday, December 1, 2006

Carpe Diem – 2006 Person of the Year

by Bob Friedlander

Time magazine since 1927 has been choosing the Person of the Year usually a figure who for good or evil dominates the world news. It is an event closely watched by the world. Good guys like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman , Martin Luther King, Jack Kennedy, and Cory Aquino are some of the good persons selected. On the other hand fanatics and tyrants like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini also made it. One thing they all had in common is, they dominated the world stage for better or for worse for that year.

Congratulations to YOU as Time has chosen for 2006 all of us individually and collectively as persons who dominated the world and will continue to do so because of the wired world web. It is pure People Power once again demonstrated in the world. The explosive influence and growth of the information age has shown that we can make the difference for change for better or for worse. The world has shrunk as you can communicate and help influence events instantly. First you had email, then the websites, followed by blogs, my space and lately the Youtube generation. If you are not familiar with these cyberspace semantics it is time for you to talk to your teenage sons and daughters. News is even faster than the traditional media we have been accustomed to. Just to illustrate the power of Youtube, a Presidential timber for the Republican Party was shredded to a Presidential toothpick with an expose’ of his Makaka remark, a racially offensive term. It was not the traditional media who caught this it was a person who used the power of the web to show one and all the hypocrisy of some candidates. Disturbing emails of a gay Congressman from Florida had his political career ended. It is claimed that the reason why the Republicans lost Congress and the Senate is the power of the youth who came out in droves to vote for the Democratic Party candidates with fresh images of the Iraq war contradicting the we are winning the war claim of the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld trio and similar incidents mentioned earlier.

On a personal note my high school class of Ateneo and Army brats who lived in the former Fort McKinley set up it own yahoo groups. Lo and behold boyhood friends of forty, fifty years ago instantly renew memories and friendship as if the missing years did not interrupt the relationship. Our reunion was a smashing success because of the power of the internet.

In marketing we have seen how Amazon and EBay have become great Channels of distribution and source of sales in many industries. Travel, car sales, membership clubs and a growing number of industries are using the internet for commerce. Even sports are great adventure in the internet. In the last Pacquiao fight I was unwilling to dish out $55 for the fight. A young daughter of mind told me to connect to a certain website and to my pleasant surprise I watched the fight live and saw Manny knockout El Terrible. The quality of the video was not excellent but fair enough to enjoy the exciting match. Movies are heavily promoted in the internet

The trend is the same for fund raising activities. Even the dreaded Al Qaeda has become an astute user of the web using it for propaganda and a tool for terror as well as recruitment of followers.

The advent of this powerful technology has given the individuals a tool for change. What do we do about it? Shall we ignore this development, be indifferent or embrace and use it for the good of society. It is our choice to be different, to be man for others or to be used for the aggrandizement of self. This is your choice. Seize the moment!