For a sizeable portion of the world the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg being named the TIME Person of the Year for 2010 has been a hard fact to digest. The magazine's choice to overlook a whooping number of 382,026 public votes poured in support of WikeLeaks founder Julian Assange, and hand over its year-end title to the CEO of the social networking site has been received with upset scorns.
The 39-year-old Australian journalist/hacker/activist, who has taken the world by a storm with his whistleblower website WikiLeaks, scored an average rating of 92 over Zuckerberg's rating of 52 with only 18,353 votes. While Assange ranked first in the list of prospective people of the year after public voting [See Poll Results], Zuckerberg came in tenth with other prominent personalities like Lady Gaga (3rd), Glenn Beck (5th), Barack Obama (6th), Steve Jobs (7th), The Chilean Miners (8th) taking the rest of the top ten spots.
The news magazine, as we know now, ended up handing over its traditional title Person of the Year for 2010 to Mark Zuckerberg.
For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year, the magazine declared.
It was not long before people took to twitter and other sites venting out frustration against the choice.
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Once again @Time editors demonstrate POTY no longer for the person who had the greatest impact on the year. Next year: @Sn00ki? tweeted one Jaketapper.
Another twitter user, HowardKurtz, posted in favour of Twitter: Stronger case for Zuckerberg as Time's person in 08, 09, when Facebook was newer, more transformative. This was a Twitter year; Biz robbed!
However, most importantly the fact that Assange was snubbed by the magazine did not fit in well with thousands of devotees of WikiLeaks.
A ComputerWorld blog published on December 15, titled 'In snub to WikiLeaks, Zuckerberg wins TIME Person of Year 2010' reflecting the expression of disgruntlement among the people. The author of 'The Long View', Richi Jennings said, If you'll ignore a result you don't want, don't ask us to vote. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg isn't PotY 2010, it's WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.
The U.S. magazine has been annually honoring a person, a group, an idea, or a place who or that has done the most to influence the events of the year since 1927. Aviator Charles Lindbergh was the first to win the title after the magazine faced flak for not featuring him and his historic trans-Atlantic flight as a cover story - a reason believed to be the real reason behind the conceptualization of the tradition.
Since then, individuals such as Walter Chrysler (1928), Gandhi (1930), Franklin D Roosevelt (1932 and 1934), and even Adolf Hitler (1938) and Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942) have been recognized. The Computer (1982) and The Endangered Earth (1988), You (2006) were among the unconventional winners of the title in the past. (You refers to the general public)
In 1979 the magazine faced backlash for featuring a controversial figure as the Person of the Year - Ayatollah Khomeini, an Iranian religious leader and the man behind the 1979 revolution, which dethroned Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.
In another controversial selection, following the 9/11 attacks New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani was chosen as the 'Person of the Year 2001', despite the fact that this selection was against the philosophy of choosing the most influential factor in the year's news. Seemingly to imply that Osama bin Laden was a more likely choice for the year, the issue naming Giuliani as the Person of the Year included an article mentioning the magazine's earlier decision to elect the Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1999 rejection of Hitler as the 'Person of the Century' over Albert Einstein.
Now, TIME has landed itself into a fresh controversy by snubbing Assange, who is asserted to have far more important accomplishments than Zuckerberg.
Pointing this out, another popular Tech blog, Mashable asked its readers, What do you think? Do you agree with Time's choice, or would you prefer to have seen Julian Assange (or perhaps someone else) named the Person of the Year?
Facebook, no doubt, today has emerged into a crucial piece to solving everyday's puzzle. Zuckerberg managed to give human beings a platform to connect and experience a sense belonging to a community at a time when individuals were drifting apart due to various societal factors.
However, while Facebook catered to individuals at a personal level, WikiLeaks, on the contrary, turned the world upside down by opening up a can of worms on the power equations and the realities of war and the price of peace. Nevertheless, Assange, inevitably, came with baggage. The man and his site invoked the ire of the U.S. government, which, in turn, forced several other organizations to withdraw support to WikiLeaks. He is also facing trial over alleged sexual crimes in Sweden. Now, TIME seems to have joined the bandwagon by snubbing the whistle blower.
And it's no use blaming the 4chan.org /b/tard Anonymous army for stuffing the votes. If you really thought that was the case, you should have disqualified Assange, rather than meekly naming him as runner up, alongside The Tea Party (a political movement that, by the way, is turning the U.S. into an international laughing stock), added Jennings on his blog, before going on to assert that 2010 was not the year of Facebook as it is now thriving on the momentum built up in 2009 and 2008.
Dwelling on the same lines, Assange has also been functioning for a long time now. He has also received the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award (New Media) for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya with the investigation 'The Cry of Blood - Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearance', before clinching the recent Readers' Choice for TIME magazine's 2010 Person of the Year, and the runner-up for 2010 Person of the Year title.
Declaring Assange the runner-up, TIME noted, The push-button model of WikiLeaks compresses the timeline radically and permits the universal broadcast of voluminous archives in full, so much so that leak hardly seems to suffice as a metaphor.
However, the fact that WikiLeaks' activities has had far reaching consequences across the globe in the year 2010 can not be easily rubbished.
From the Iraq Apache helicopter attack, Guantanamo Bay operating procedures, Scientology, Climate Reasearch e-mail leaks, to the recent Cablegate, WikiLeaks has sent shock waves across the world.
This year's breach of containment spilled nearly half a million documents, including 76,607 military reports from Afghanistan, 391,832 from Iraq and, beginning Nov. 28, a stream of diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks says will eventually number 251,287, the magazine also acknowledged.
Despite having such a ground-breaking impact on the world order in 2010, TIME magazine's refusal to accredit WikiLeaks' founder has just added another layer of obscurity to the way the world works - which is just the force the silver-haired man continues to fight against.