The magazine’s decision to pick a single, solitary person as the most important individual of the entire year is always going to be met with praise by some and criticism by more, but it seems to be a bigger deal this year.
The International Business Times tracked down a lot of the reaction to the decision to pick Mark Zuckerberg as the person of the year, bypassing other important figures including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
First of all, Mark Zuckerberg did not really change the world at all this year. At least that’s what a bunch of Twitter users seem to think. “Stronger case for Zuckerberg as Time’s person in 08, 09, when Facebook was newer, more transformative,” Tweeted HowardKurtz.
It’s true; Facebook was more transformative a couple years ago. Now it’s just part of the landscape. It would be like giving Google CEO Eric Schmidt the honor. Of course, Zuckerberg was the subject of a very successful biopic this year, The Social Network, and he made the single biggest private donation to a public school system in American history. But are those things really worth being crowned the most important person in the world?
Indeed, if you look at who actually impacted the global climate, there’s really only one person to look to – Julian Assange. The Wikileaks saga is something that will be put into the textbooks of the future. Zuckerberg will probably just get a footnote, if anything.
But where the real outrage comes is with the results of Time’s public poll. The publication asked readers who they thought the choice should be. Zuckerberg ranked 10th with just over 18,000 votes. Assange, meanwhile, earned 382,026 votes.
“If you’ll ignore a result you don’t want, don’t ask us to vote. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg isn’t PotY 2010, it’s WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange,” wrote columnist Richi Jennings on Computerworld.com.
The day the magazine’s choice was announced, Stephen Colbert opened that night’s Colbert Report with a quip about Assange “not violating the privacy of enough people” to earn the honor.
If anything, Time already covered the importance of Facebook in 2006 when “you” were the person of the year. That was supposed to encompass the importance of the Youtube and Myspace culture. Rehashing that now seems hella out of touch.