Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a man, woman, or entity that, in the words of the publication, “for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year.” TIME has made it absolutely clear that its list is not an academic or objective study of the past but, instead, a contemporary perspective of what was important during the year just ended.
The winners list contains heroes and villains, objects, entire generations, and oddities. Starting in 1927 with aviator Charles Lindbergh, other famous individuals include Adolph Hitler (1938), Astronauts Anders/Borman/Lovell (1968), and Ayatullah Khomeini (1979). Some of the more unusual winners include:
- U.S. Scientists (1960).
- Twenty-Five and Under (1966).
- American Women (1975).
- The Computer (1982).
- Endangered Earth (1988).
- The Peacemakers (Mandela, De Klerk, Rabin & Arafat) (1993).
- The Whistleblowers (Women who blew the whistle on Worldcom, Enron & the FBI) (2002).
- You (In the words of TIME, “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.” (2006).
Did you predict who TIME would pick for 2010? This year’s Person of the Year is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, CEO, and face of Facebook. At 26, he is the second youngest to receive the honor. TIME explained his importance as “creating a new system of exchanging information” and “changing how we all live our lives.”
When Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard University, he created Facebook for his fellow college students. Over the years, adults the world over have joined Facebook, and the company surpassed MySpace as the number one social network two years ago. Facebook users now post a billion pieces of content including photos and messages on a daily basis, according to TIME’s announcement. Facebook has maintained ad prices and also makes money from a credits program which lets people buy virtual items for online games. However, everything in the Facebook world is not golden. As Facebook has expanded, so have users’ concerns about privacy. After lawmakers and advocacy groups complained that Facebook shares too much personal data, the company introduced privacy controls in May and said it was reducing the amount of user information that is publicly available – but information security professionals do not agree.
While there is no question that Facebook has evolved, and many people have Facebook accounts for personal or business use – including this blogger – there were other candidates better suited for this recognition:
- Consider the residents of the Gulf Coast, who despite re-building after the effects of Katrina, were forced to start over AGAIN during 2010 as a result of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Countless individuals inspired the nation and the world with their unyielding dedication and spirit.
- Another consideration is Betty White, who, at age 88, resurrected her career and introduced herself to new generations of fans. Her activities during 2010 include an amusing commercial during the 2010 Super Bowl, a wildly successful guest-hosting of Saturday Night Live for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award, a starring role in a new television series, and a deal to write two books. In addition to her lifetime support of animals and service on the Board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, White has proven that senior citizens can be productive members of society – as well as in Hollywood.
- One final consideration would have to be the Chilean miners who were stuck underground for 69 days – and all survived. They represent perseverance, hope, and survival.
Oh well, only 12 months until TIME announces the Man, Women, Person, Object, or Oddity of 2011. Let the countdown begin!
To read the article from TIME Magazine: