By: Andrew Han
I remember back in 2005, a friend of mine sent me a link to this quirky new site called “Facebook.” Little did I know that I would be joining perhaps the largest bandwagon in human history.
Time Magazine recently chose social-networking guru Mark Zuckerberg as the 2010 Person of the Year. Widely known as the founder and CEO of Facebook, a Harvard dropout, and the world’s youngest billionaire, Zuckerberg was chosen above WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, President Barack Obama, pop artist Lady Gaga, and countless other influential individuals in Time’s list of nominees for the 2010 Person of the Year.
Time chooses the Person of the Year based on who they believe has most influenced the world in the past year. In 2010, Zuckerberg joined the league of former world leaders, rock stars, presidents, and so on.
Indeed, the behemoth that is Facebook has had a great impact on the world. In the past few years, Facebook’s popularity and increasing prevalence has led it to beat Google as the most visited website in the world. It not only created a new system of exchanging information and social networking, but it also became a topic of intense discussion in the debate over and reform in online privacy.
Many do not realize the tremendous (and almost frightening) influence that Facebook has gained since its inception. In only a few years’ time, the phrase “it’s on Facebook” (or any variation of the sort) has become almost as prevalent as “Google it.” Almost everyone you meet has a Facebook, if not for blogging purposes, then for communication. This alone could justify Time’s choice of Zuckerberg as the most important person of the year.
But as I recall, nothing particularly extraordinary happened with Facebook in 2010. With the exception of a few (slightly annoying) layout changes to the webpage, I haven’t noticed anything that would merit the “Person of the Year” award to Zuckerberg. It seems a bit odd that it was only after six years and countless billions of dollars that Time chose to recognize Zuckerberg and his creation.
Perhaps it has something to do with the recent highly publicized film The Social Network, in which Zuckerberg and his ascent to fame was cast in a negative light. In the movie, he was conveyed as an arrogant and avaricious entrepreneur. However, in reality, he is described as an amiable, fun, and warm individual who has donated a large portion of his wealth to various organizations. Perhaps the award was in part to correct the bad image assigned to Zuckerberg from the movie.
In any case, despite the odd timing of Time’s choice, Zuckerberg’s influence is unquestionable. According to Time Magazine, Zuckerberg played a central role in “connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them… and changing how we live our lives.”
And that is just what he did. Facebook’s meteoric rise to power will undoubtedly be remembered for many generations to come as a revolution in the way people communicate.