Written by Noemi Pollack on November 26, 2013.
Time Magazine’s most coveted cover of the year is the one that carries the “Person of the Year,” which generally appears on its last annual edition. Whoever it turns out to be, the person stares down at people round the world from news kiosks, at airports, train stations, in malls across Europe, South America, Middle East and Asia — and is often Time’s most devoured edition — whether or not you are a Time Magazine fan.
After all, it is safe to say that the choice of candidates and the final selection comes from some of the most eminent minds in journalism today. One has the expectation that the editors who do the final selection are people steeped in news and newsmakers around the globe and have the critical analysis, coupled with an in depth understanding of the nuances that affect world news. Their choices over the years since their 1927 edition when Charles Lindberg was first selected as the “Man of the Year,” have ranged from the best to the worst of people who have impacted the world – those that caused consequences that ricocheted across continents.
But now, for the sake of creating a populous interactive conversation or to gain traction and extend the suspense, or some other purpose that boggles my mind, Time magazine has chosen to team up with Twitter to choose its Person of the Year, although Editors are quick to say, in the same breath, Time’s “real” Person of the Year is chosen, as always, by the editors and not through social media sites. Using Poptip to gather the tweets, the publication will be assessing tips from readers that contain the hashtag #TIMEPOY and asking them to cast their votes for the person they think most influenced the news this year for better or worse – in both a straight yes/no poll and a candidate face-off by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 4. Not only will Twitter users be able to suggest candidates through the social media site, but Time will also share Vine videos of the contenders on time.com. The combined winner of reader polls will be announced on Dec. 6.
The Editor’s pick will be announced five days later, on Dec. 11.
So what’s the point? Vote just for the fun of it, knowing it is going nowhere and have no effect? Vote for a lark or maybe as a prankster? Or to have the Twitter-speak symbol, become part of one of the most important conversations of the year? Good for Twitter, not so much for Time.
So, is this a publicity ploy for Time or what? I am all for populous interactions and definitely think that casting votes for such TV Shows the likes of “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” or any other contest where a public opinion matters and changes things, is one of the great options that social media has brought. But I, for one, want my vote to count for something and have my vote impact an outcome.
In the case of Time’s “Person of the Year,” those votes don’t matter. It trivializes and dilutes the brand.
There are just some things better left for the experts to do…