Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of the social-networking site Facebook, as Time’s Person of the Year. Rick Stengel, managing editor of Time, made the announcement this morning on NBC’s Today Show.
At 26-years-old, Zukerberg, is Time magazine’s second-youngest Person of the year. The late Charles Lindbergh, aviator, was 25 when he received the award in 1927.
“(Facebook is) something that is transforming the way we live our lives every day,” Stengel said. “It’s social engineering, changing the way we relate to each other.” He added that this year, Facebook has collected more than 500 million users, or 1 in 10, worldwide.
Zuckerberg is on somewhat of a roll this week. Tuesday, the 2010 Golden Globe nominations were announced, and “The Social Network,” the movie about the founding of Facebook – was announced as one of the five nominees for year’s best Picture Award. In addition, Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Zuckerberg, in the movie, scored a Best Actor nomination, and Andrew Garfield, who plays estranged Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Although Zuckerberg has been portrayed as arrogant, Stengel said, “He’s very affable, he’s in the moment, he’s quick-witted,” Stengel said, but “he has this thing when he gets on camera” and becomes suddenly shy.
In his in-depth profile of Facebook’s co-founder, Time’s Lev Grossman writes that “Zuckerberg is a warm presence, not a cold one. He has a quick smile and doesn’t shy away from eye contact. He thinks fast and talks fast, but he wants you to keep up. He exudes not anger or social anxiety but a weird calm. When you talk to his co-workers, they’re so adamant in their avowals of affection for him and their insistence that you not misconstrue his oddness that you get the impression it’s not just because they want to keep their jobs. People really like him.”
Stengel said the decision to name Zuckerberg Person of the Year followed weeks of debate and discussion among Time editors and staff members.
The Tea Party, a movement of Americans who dislike big government was in second place, Stengel said, followed by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder who came in third. Hamid Karzai, the elected leader of Afghanistan, was fourth, and in fifth place was, the Chilean miners, who were trapped half a mile underground for more than two months. Stengel said Time’s Person of the Year magazine includes, “has photographs of every Chilean miner.”