Time magazine has chosen Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder of Facebook, as its Person of the Year, a title given to an individual who has “for better or for worse…done the most to influence the events of the year.”
In a year fraught with political turmoil and sweeping actions involving lightning-rod individuals, Zuckerberg was an unexpected choice. A popular vote among Time readers, for instance, revealed that their pick was Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks. National politicians, international threats, and the leaders of hot-button political movements were also up for consideration.
Time’s top fiveWho would you have voted for as Person of the Year–Zuckerberg, or one of the four runners-up?
The Tea Party
The Chilean Miners
None of the above
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But it’s Zuckerberg who received 2010’s recognition, in a testament to the rising power of a new generation of Silicon Valley innovation and how much the ways in which we communicate have been dramatically changed by the Web and digital media.
“The way we connect with one another and with the institutions in our lives is evolving. There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another. Our sense of identity is more variable, while our sense of privacy is expanding. What was once considered intimate is now shared among millions with a keystroke,” Time editor Richard Stengel wrote in an editorial explaining the magazine’s choice. “More than anyone else on the world stage, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is at the center of these changes.”