TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is TIME magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year – beating WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Zuckerberg, a billionaire made six times over, revolutionized how we as humans interact and relate to one another throughout the world.

Photo by Time Magazine

According to TIME, Zuckerberg’s been the visionary, ”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 all live our lives.”

Seven years ago Zuckerberg was only 19 years old and a student at Harvard when he started thefacebook.com, a web service and directory that connected college students through the internet. Zuckerberg now runs Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto with a team that is mostly male and under the age of 30.

Just how global and influential is Facebook today? TIME explains in lamens terms that, “This year Facebook added its 550 millionth member… One out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account… Last month the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views… Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day.”

The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, hit theaters this October and told the story of Facebook’s fruition, starting with Zuckerberg depicted as a Harvard student who turned to the internet to start an online slam book of college girls. The film has earned $184 million and a slew of recognition and accolades. The film has been nominated for six Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

Despite Zuckberg’s Hollywood portrayal as socially awkward and willing to do anything to get ahead, the reality is that Zuckerberg is actually calm with a warm presence, empathetic and has a very close group of friends. He’s already donated $100 million to aid a school system in Newark, N.J., and “he pledged to give away at least half his wealth over the course of his lifetime.” For Zuckerberg, he’s not in it for the money. An interest on his own Facebook page reads, “Eliminating Desire,” meaning, “Eliminating desire for all that doesn’t really matter.” As the world’s youngest billionaire, money isn’t desirable. Facebook and its future is about building social context, a social platform, and believing that what Zuckerberg is envisioning is truly better for the world and humanity.

Facebook’s success has far exceeded other social networking sites because it is a complete representation of the individual that Zuckerberg is. He understands the human psyche, he’s confident, he’s brilliant and he’s “prescient.”

TIME quotes Sam Lessin, Facebook’s project manager, “You get at most one – if you’re incredibly lucky, two – shots, maybe, in your lifetime to actually truly affect the course of a major piece of evolution. Which is what I see this as.”

Zuckerberg sees Facebook as perpetuating a “serendipitous world… You’ll be working and living inside a network of people, and you’ll never have to be alone again.”

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