I write a regular column for the Intelligence magazine in South Africa. Its the Back Page column, and is meant to be fun, irreverent, interesting. (I have secret ambitions to emulate the back page of the Fortune magazine).
I thought you might be interested in a recent contribution about Web 2.0 and interactive websites.

Phenomenonal, You
By Dr Graeme Codrington
Did you know that you (yes, you!) were TIMEs Person of the Year for 2006. Every year, this global news magazine selects the person who they believe defined the year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_the_Year). Recipients have included Einstein, Ghandi, Mandela, Clinton, Gates, Stalin and Hitler. But, last year, it was you! Congratulations. But what did you do to deserve such great praiseand enter this esteemed gallery of eminent people?
For anyone who keeps even vaguely up to date with tech issues (like readers of this magazine), the answer should be obvious. Amongst other reasons, 2006 was a breakthrough year for interactive internet-based media, commonly labeled Web 2.0. This label is generally applied to a new generation of Web-based services – such as social networking, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies all emphasising online collaboration and sharing among users (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0). Simply put individuals like you and me took over as key content providers in a world afloat with information.
It seems almost inconceivable that readers of this magazine have not yet tried out at least some of these new technologies for sharing yourself with others. But, just in case you havent, and need an idiots guide to them so you dont look like one, heres a quick overview of the big headline grabbing sites that made you the Person of the Year 2006:
Skype (www.skype.com) OK, if you havent heard of Skype yet, theres very little hope for you. No, seriously, there isnt. Free telephony. Video phoning again, for free. And Skype Out use your computer to phone any landline or mobile phone in the world at a fraction of the cost of normal telephone services. By the way, what you may not have known is that Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the co-founders of Skype and KaZaa (the file sharing program) have just launched their latest venture Internet-based television, combining Web 2.0 functionality with traditional TV programming. You can currentlysign up for beta testing of Joost (http://www.joost.com
YouTube (www.youtube.com) This is a website for sharing videos with the world. You make a video clever or silly, serious or stupid and then upload it. The site grabs it, converts it to a special FLV (flash) format and makes it available for everyone to watch. (BTW, you can download these videos using a great Firefox add-in, known as Fast Video Download. And, did you know that Pik Bothas grandson was involved in the team that sold YouTube for billions of dollars? True fact!)
Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/) this is the same concept as YouTube, except its for photos.Using tags that can be added to photos, all the images are searchable in a variety of different ways. And part of what is supposed to be the genius of these sites is that nothing is copyright, and everything is shared for the sake of everyone. Well, sort of.
MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/) this is one of the sites that made it all happen. Reportedly the sixth most visited website in the world, and the third most popular website in the US, Myspace is a cultural phenomenon. Its a social networking site, that links people together based on common interests, although it has a bias towards people interested in music. The official byline is that MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends’ friends. Theres a more business focused alternative called LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) that connects people based on business interests and opportunities.
Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org) for those who dont know what wikis are, this is the best example of one. Basically, its a space where many different people can collaborate to create content. Sounds like chaos yet, strangely, it isnt.
And then, of course, theres Google (http://www.google.com), the 200 pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the Internet café. Everyones goal is to be bought by Google (or, for those with more ambition to buy Google). Look past the search engine at Google (i.e. click the more tab) and youll find an amazing array of interactive tools, from calendars to maps of the earth that can be shared and collaborated with.
And finally… since every news report ends with some sublime to ridiculousstory, let me return the favour and do the same. You can exercise your rights as Person of the Year by sending your news reports to basically any 24 hour news channel in the world (they do have 24 hours to fill, every day, after all). The most organised is iReport on CNN (www.cnn.com/ireport).
This is just a selection of these types of sites. I am sure you know of other excellent ones. If so, Id love to hear from you…
Get with the programme, you genius! Start sharing now.

TomorrowToday Global