Time’s Person of the Year

Congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg for being Time’s 2010 Person of the Year.

You can check out the article here.

I found myself enjoying this article and finding it a refreshing read. This article in a way seeks to redefine our old, traditional notion of Facebook as simply this platform for making superficial connections with other people. When Facebook launched in 2004, it was inspired by four college roommates looking to stalk girls. Today Facebook has gone above and beyond that. Sure we still have those Facebook friends we’ve talked to only once, but Facebook is reshaping how individuals and institutions are engaging with one another. This is what Mark has to say:

“I think the next five years are going to be about building out this social platform…It’s about the idea that most applications are going to become social, and most industries are going to be rethought in a way where social design and doing things with your friends is at the core of how these things work. If the last five years was the ramping up, I think that the next five years are going to be characterized by widespread acknowledgment by other industries that this is the way that stuff should be and will be better.”

We can begin to see how entire industries are already being reshaped by Facebook. Online industries, such as major stores and news media, have incorporated Facebook as a convenient and expedient way to consume and share things with friends. Facebook has “humanized” corporations by allowing them to engage with people in an open and individualized spirit (e.g. DODOcase). And other organizations have embraced Facebook as a way to raise awareness and conduct campaigns for important causes (e.g. SolSolution).

That is why I believe Facebook has the potential to be a game changer in the world of medicine. 8 in 10 Internet users, or two-thirds of adults, in the U.S. look online for health information (Pew Internet & American Life Project). Now think about that number when kids, who grew up with the Internet, start looking for their own health care. Because most people now look online for their health information, doctors and hospitals who are not active online risk being “increasingly marginalized” (KevinMD). For an excellent example of how a hospital uses Facebook, check out the Mayo Clinic. Through Facebook, Mayo Clinic provides a personable and transparent way of improving health of their patients by fostering better communication, focusing on health literacy, and facilitating a community among patients and doctors.

Going back to Mark, before this week I thought of him as a socially awkward loner (thanks “Social Network”). But I’m glad I learned a different side of him after reading this article. Just this past year, he donated $100 million to fix the education system in New Jersey and he recently committed half his wealth to The Giving Pledge for charity. So again, congrats Mark and thank you for changing the world.

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