If you’re sick of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 26-year-old co-founder and CEO, Time Magazine isn’t doing you any favors. The magazine has named Zuckerberg its 2010 Person of the Year, its annual profile of the most influential (for better or worse) person, couple, group, place or idea of the year.
The young CEO beat out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who Time lists as a runner-up and topped a Time online poll in which readers were asked who they considered the person of the year. It’s not unusual for the results of Time’s online poll to differ from the magazine’s actual Person of the Year choice. Other runner-ups include the Tea Party, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and the Chilean miners.
Time’s choice is undoubtedly controversial. Facebook now has over 500 million users, and users spend over 700 billion minutes a month on the site, according to Facebook’s own statistics. In sheer numbers, Zuckerberg is the father of one of the most used platforms on the web. But is that enough to declare him Person of the Year?
Giving the honor to Zuckerberg seems like a follow-up to Time’s controversial Person of the Year for 2006, “You.” At that point, social media and the “Web 2.0” phenomenon were just beginning to find their footing. Now social media is beginning to rival email in its ubiquity, but we also have a clearer sense of its strengths and weaknesses as well.