Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a new friend today: Time magazine.
Zuckerberg has captured Time's 2010 Person of the Year award, a prestigious honor that has been bestowed on U.S. presidents, corporate leaders, popes and the like, since 1927. Time selected Zuckerberg for connecting more than a half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, and for changing the world through social media.
"Mark Zuckerberg, we think, was a pretty clear and convincing choice," said Jim Fredrick, Time.com's Managing Editor, in an interview with Marketplace's host Steve Chiotakis. "In our opinion, he is the person who has most changed the way that people live their lives and is most affected the news throughout the entire year."
Zuckerberg beat out a group of 33 Chilean miners, who were trapped miles below the earth's surface for more than two months before they were rescued, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose Web site has published millions of documents this year on secrets involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomatic relations.
A Decade of "Person of the Year"
2010 -- Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook
2009 -- Ben Bernanke, American Economist and Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve
2008 -- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
2007 -- Vladimir Putin, second President of the Russian Federation and current Prime Minister of Russia
2006 -- You
2005 -- Bono, Melinda Gates and Bill Gates, philanthropists
2004 -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
2003 -- The American Soldier
2002 -- Women who blew the whistle on Worldcom, Enron and the FBI: Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom; Coleen Rowley, the FBI; and Sherron Watkins, Enron
2001 -- Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of New York City from 1994-2001
2000 -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Time Magazine today named Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year. The Facebook founder and CEO surpassed some big newsmakers and names to get the nod.
And we were a little curious about the decision,
so we thought we'd talk to Jim Frederick, the
Managing Editor at Time-dot-com about it.
JIM FREDERICK: Hello thanks for having me.
CHIOTAKIS: Why Mark Zuckerberg?
FREDERICK: Mark Zuckerberg we think was a pretty clear and convincing choice because in our opinion, he is the person who has most changed the way that people live their lives and is most affected the news throughout the entire year.
CHIOTAKIS: Facebook though, Jim, has been a big deal for a few years. Why not earlier?
FREDERICK: Facebook I think this year they passed 500 million users. You know we're talking almost one in ten people on the planet. This is the year that Facebook went from being a phenomenon to being, as our writer Lev Grossman, described it, "a species level event."
CHIOTAKIS: What about the folks that Zuckerberg beat out?
FREDERICK: We did identify several runners up. Number two was the Tea Party Movement in general.
CHIOTAKIS: How do you put all of them on the cover?
FREDERICK: You know, it was a long and fraught debate among the Time editors. You know the Tea Party is also a gigantic movement that dominated many news cycles. We ultimately decided not to go with them because it's a little bit too early in the Tea Party Movement that it's not clear whether or not they're here it stay. Number three was Julian Assange, who was the people's choice for online voting. I mean, if WikiLeaks continues to do what it does, I think that it is a very prime candidate for years to come.
CHIOTAKIS: In this day and age Jim what does it mean to be Person of the Year? You guys have been doing this every year for many, right?
FREDERICK: Yeah, we've been doing this every year since the very first year which was Charles Lindbergh, who was 25.
CHIOTAKIS: But a lot of people confuse it for being like something of a positive position. This is something positive. But you have to remember that Adolf Hitler was Man of the Year back in what, '38.
FREDERICK: Yeah, it is not an award, it is not an honor. It is quite simply the person who most fundamentally changed the culture or dominated the news or changed the news in that particular year.
CHIOTAKIS: Jim Frederick, Managing editor at Time.com.
FREDERICK: Thank you very much for having me.