05:10 AM

11.6.06: Time says YouTube invention of the year

Somehow you just doubt Time would have picked YouTube as the invention of the year if it hadn't been validated by a $1.65 billion purchase by Google. No matter. A few choice words about the monster in Time's inimitable prose style:

YouTube's creators had stumbled onto the intersection of three revolutions. First, the revolution in video production made possible by cheap camcorders and easy-to-use video software. Second, the social revolution that pundits and analysts have dubbed Web 2.0. It's exemplified by sites like MySpace, Wikipedia, Flickr and DiggÑhybrids that are useful Web tools but also thriving communities where people create and share information together. The more people use them, the better they work, and more people use them all the timeÑa kind of self-stoking mass collaboration that wouldn't have been possible without the Internet.

The third revolution is a cultural one. Consumers are impatient with the mainstream media. The idea of a top-down culture, in which talking heads spoon-feed passive spectators ideas about what's happening in the world, is over. People want unfiltered video from Iraq, Lebanon and DarfurÑnot from journalists who visit there but from soldiers who fight there and people who live and die there.

Most refreshingly, Time's article leaves the copyright scare til the end, noting the schizoid attitude some corporations have to the YouTube opportunity.

"The people marketing content see it as a great new platform, but the legal side of the business doesn't know how to react," Hurley says. "We have instances where someone within the company uploaded something, and the other side's asking you to take it down."