Wednesday’s announcement that Facebook co-founder, CEO and pop culture phenomenon, Mark Zuckerberg, was named Time magazine’s illustrious Person of the Year has led to many in the media crying that the choice blasphemes the church that is the hallowed Person of the Year legacy. I was one of the people on Time’s panel to nominate and argue over who was most deserving of the title. My two choices were the Tea Party and Mark Zuckerberg. The Time panel consisted of myself, Joe Trippi, Google’s Marissa Miller (who petitioned hard for Steve Jobs to be considered for Person of the Year), Wyclef Jean, and the executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement Daisy Khan. Everyone chose both interesting and poignant candidates. Other notable ideas that were discussed were Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Beck and the country of Haiti.
Time’s choice is like the man himself, innovative and controversial. The Person of the Year is an illusive title that has historically showcased, for better or worse, the individual who has had the most distinctive impact on the previous year. In 2010 Facebook hit its five hundred millionth member. A feat no social network has ever achieved. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network was also released to both commercial and critical acclaim. Mark Zuckerberg has become the first true millenial rockstar, and he is ushering in a completely new era.
I believe that Mark Zuckerberg is the Henry Ford of our times and Facebook is the Model-T.
At the end of the day, Mark Zuckerberg really is the most forward thinking and relevant candidate, even beating Julian Assange and the Tea Party. He transcends all of these people and, dare I say, even countries because all of these subjects are more than likely to be read about, discussed, and debated via users on—where else?—Facebook. I believe that Mark Zuckerberg is the Henry Ford of our times and Facebook is the Model-T. Although the choice may be controversial given Zuckerberg’s age and his somewhat bumpy public relations, there is no denying the omnipresence of Facebook and the impact it has had on shaping our lives, even while raising questions about privacy and if real privacy can in fact even exist anymore.
Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site mccainblogette.com. Her new book, Dirty Sexy Politics, was published in August.