The Person of the Year is selected by the magazine for being someone who has had the greatest influence on our culture – good or bad – in the last twelve months. Zuckerberg was chosen “for connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives”.
With Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has created an empire. The site has almost 600 million users (that means that about 1 out of 12 people on the planet have a Facebook account) and the number of people logging on is growing every day. People interact with the site in 70 languages and the company has offices in 11 countries including India, Ireland, and Australia. Zuckerberg’s net worth was calculated at 6.9 billion dollars in 2010 (an amazing increase of 4.9 billion dollars over last year) and he is number 212 on the list of the world’s richest people. The movie based on his life, The Social Network, was also a critical and box office success this year. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of Harvard.
Time has been publishing a Person of the Year issue for over 80 years and Zuckerberg has been added to the long list of names that includes powerful figures such as President Obama, Bono, President Bush, and Martin Luther King Jr. While there’s no question that Facebook has changed the way we connect with each other, it remains to be seen if history will remember Zuckerberg as a person who made our lives better or someone who helped make us more socially isolated. What do you think?