Rob Killick on Time's announcement of The Person of the Year: Time also claims that leadership in the sense that Thomas Carlyle described it as ‘the biography of great men’ has been undermined by Web 2.0. While it is always possible to overemphasise the roles of individuals in history, the claim that ‘you’ or ‘me’ are as influential as Hitler or Churchill in shaping events is fanciful. Individual leaders come to the fore as the most dynamic exemplars of the movements or governments they lead. They are the ones that people expect to lead them towards whichever goals they wish to achieve. Of course, leaders need followers. It is the energy, commitment and conviction of the followers which make things happen, not the leaders. The absence of great leaders today is not a step forward for democracy but a reflection of the weakness of political life.
The point is that today’s bloggers are entirely the opposite of past generations of activists and democrats. They are, by definition, sedentary rather than active, individualised rather then collective, and intellectually disparate rather than united.
Where is the evidence that this supposed revolution is changing the world? Have poverty and disease been abolished? Is the political world more enlightened or the economy more dynamic as a result?
If writing to each other defines participation in the democratic process, telling the world your private thoughts makes up a revolution, and filming your iguana is an act of global leadership, then we can expect little improvement in the real world.
I believe Mr Killick might have misunderstood the use of the term 'revolution' in the way Lev Grossman of Time uses it in the Person of the Year article. It also seems like Mr Killick have missed the point about how collaborative blogging can drive change.
And is it just me, or is the view Mr Killick expresses on democratic change absurd?