Time managing editor Richard Stengel visited “The Today Show” during its 7 a.m. hour this morning to announce the magazine’s pick for its annual Person of the Year cover. This year, the honor goes to none other than Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old billionaire co-founder of Facebook. Zuckerberg also happened to be the subject of The Social Network, a film (loosely, if Facebook’s reaction is any indication) based on his time creating Facebook while a student at Harvard. The magazine notes that Zuckerberg is only a year older than its youngest Person of the Year, Charles Lindbergh — “another young man who used technology to bridge continents.”
As it does every year, the magazine allowed readers to weigh in with their choice for Person of the Year based on a list of candidates including the likes of Lady Gaga and Stephen Colbert / Jon Stewart. This time around, readers chose controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently out on bail following allegations that he raped two women while in Sweden.
For connecting more than half-a-billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is Time‘s 2010 Person of the Year.