Mark Zuckerberg was chosen as TIME magazines Person of the Year 2010. He was chosen by the magazines editorial staff for his hugely important creation: Facebook. While TIME contemplated who their winner would be, they allowed internet users to vote in an online poll. The list was varied and covered the globe. Such personalities readers could vote for included Hamid Karzai, Glen Beck and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (of Park51 mosque fame) to name a few.
The reasons for choosing Zuckerberg are obvious: Not a day goes by where I, for one, fail to check my Facebook. I use it for chat, email and to spread the word about interesting shit that goes on in the world. I, and the majority of my 200+ friends, do the same. Just this past week, a Facebook intern mapped out over 10 million user connections. The results are incredible. Not only is world geography easily discernible on the map, but political boundaries are visible, as well. If the internet is the road system of the world, then Facebook is it’s users vehicle of choice.
Why not Assange? That remains a mystery. A majority of TIME users voted for him. If you check the link on Assange above you’ll see that he had 130K more votes then then closets runner-up. D.E. Wittkower, writing for the Wall Street Journal, published an interesting article today (Dec. 15) on this same question. His response was that while Assange may impact the world in the future (maybe 2011 is his year), Zuckerberg has impacted the world now. That, my friends, is the difference.
While it is fair to say that Assange has impacted the world, he and his organization have not yet become a daily part of our lives. Yes, he has recieved plenty of press coverage and yes, world governments are keeping an incredibly close eye on him. But, do we check WikiLeaks everyday to see what else has been leaked? Do we Google “Julian Assange” or “WikiLeaks” every morning after our coffee or tea? No. Not yet. That is why Assange failed to receieve the “official” nod from TIME; because we, as internet users, have failed to take WikiLeaks as seriously as the US, Britsh, and Swedish governments have. Assange is deserving, but our spirit is weak.