In 2006, TIME’s Person of the Year was You; this year, it’s Your Former High School Classmates on Facebook. TIME’s managing editor Rick Stengel this morning announced the Person of the Year for 2010: Facebook founder (and Social Network inspiration) Mark Zuckerberg. (Read Lev Grossman’s 8,000-word profile of him here.) Because POY is a media event, and Facebook, really, is a media phenomenon (as well as one of many online channels of video distribution), Tuned In seems like a pretty good place to discuss it.
So: what do you think of the choice? What do you think of Zuckerberg?
Here’s one thought to kick off discussion: among the people I knew who were guessing who the POY was (and I honestly did not know in advance), one leading candidate was Julian Assange. To play devil’s advocate (that is, TIME’s advocate), while WikiLeaks was a big story, I wonder if it’s magnified by being the most recent big story of 2010. And there’s a case to be made that WikiLeaks is simply one instance of the shift in the information ecosystem today, whereas Facebook is, increasingly, the ecosystem itself.
There’s also the argument—which there often is with POY—of “Why this year?” In a way, the choice of POY is a battle between differing views of history: should it always recognize someone who was involved in a distinct and influential event that calendar year (Assange), or should it recognize the influence of people behind cultural shifts that necessarily take years to play out (Zuckerberg)?
Another frequent guess was that the Tea Party, or someone associated with it, would or should have been POY. If you think so, let us know why. And a related discussion topic: when you look at recent choices of TIME POY (Ben Bernanke in 2009, You [i.e., social media] in 2006, philanthropists in 2005), is the magazine arguing that the commercial sphere is as much or more important than politics? Is that right or wrong? Let us know, before you go and post it to all of your friends on Facebook.