Time’s 2010 Person of the Year Is Mark Zuckerberg, But Not the Reader Favorite

Take that Julian Assange!

While the Wikileaks founder battles it out with Sweden’s courts for his freedom, ironically for (official) accusations of poking someone inappropriately, the man who took a college social network from pokes and sheep to a 500 million member, billion dollar behemoth lands the cover of Time’s person of the year. He beat out Lady Gaga, the Chilean miners, and the Tea Party among others.

Does he deserve the title?

Facebook’s success has been unprecedented. Even when MySpace, and Friendster before them, held the number one network crown, they never got to the user numbers that Facebook has. Even though details on revenue aren’t public, a 2009 estimate put revenue at $800 million, with 2010 revenue expected to grow to $2 billion. The same source of the estimate for the 2009 revenue said that the company had achieved profitability in the “tens of millions” on that. {Reuters}

In spite of vocal privacy concerns, a not completely flattering Hollywood portrayal now nominated for awards, and a call for an alternative that gives users more control over their information, Zuckerberg’s Facebook continues to grow.

No small feat, and certainly a rare achievement, but readers on Time’s website were overwhelmingly pushing for Julian Assange as person of the year. While it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison, there is a solid case for Assange to claim the title.

Whether you agree with Wikileaks’ actions or not, it’s difficult to name anyone who caused more disruption this year than Assange. Visa, PayPal and MasterCard shut off their monetary pipelines, and it’s doubtful Wikileaks will ever find the type of financial foothold that Facebook has. Even before the crackdowns started coming, the site relied on donations to survive. Despite that fact, Wikileaks – with a staff that’s probably 1% of Facebook’s  and funding that’s even less, managed to make the most powerful people around the world defend themselves, their words and their actions in multiple forums.

On an individual level, lots of people have found themselves defending tagged photos and status updates on Facebook, and while it may force more attention to be paid to how we present ourselves online, Wikileaks has forced one of the most powerful governments in the world to pay attention to how they present themselves in nearly every arena.

Facebook is a juggernaut, but was 2010 really the year of Assange?






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