The explosive growth of Web 2.0 and user-generated content is changing the way we use the Internet and interact with one another. So congratulations, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2006 is you.

This year’s pick marks the 79th time the magazine has picked a “Person of the Year” since it started in 1927. Past winners include Charles Lindbergh, FDR, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bill Clinton.

In picking a winner, editors attempt to choose the person who most influenced the news and current events during that year.

In its Monday edition, the news magazine has put a mirror on the front cover, meant to symbolize how all of us are transforming the Information Age. We beat out candidates including Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, among others.

The idea came to Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel after posting his own video to YouTube asking for submissions for Person of the Year. Within a few days, it had thousands of pageviews and dozens of comments and submissions.

“This response was the living example of the idea of our 2006 Person of the Year: that individuals are changing the nature of the information age, that the creators and consumers of user-generated content are transforming art and politics and commerce, that they are the engaged citizens of a new digital democracy,” Stengel wrote.

Leading this revolution are social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, whose popularity skyrocketed during the year, and user-generated content destinations like YouTube.

Instead of big media controlling what we see and how we interact, these sites are increasingly giving that power back to the individual, the magazine conceded.

By Ed Oswald, BetaNews