While Time Magazine does conduct a user-generated poll each year to determine their "Person of the Year," it's not as democratic a process as a true social media survey might be. While the periodical's designation usually honors 'honorary' people, it has fallen out of favor with voters with selections such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1979) and the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. This year, the same could hold true with this year's top three poll winners.
With voting officially closed, take a look at this year's top ten candidates where the controversial Assange is coming in first place with 382,023 total votes, outdistancing the second place vote-getter,Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with Lady Gaga in third.
However, according to Time's NewsFeed, the man behind WikiLeaks wasn't the winner from a social media perspective. "Lady Gaga trounced him on Facebook, receiving 65,417 "LIKES" on Facebook to Assange's 45,643.
Time is running out for Time Magazine to determine whether they concur with the popular vote or like the US' Electoral College weigh in other factors to select their 2010 winner. The announcement is scheduled for the TV show Good Morning America Wednesday, December 15.
Julian AssangeAssange's critics, including Alaska's ex-governor,Sarah Palin call him a terrorist and an insurgent. Currently imprisoned on sexual assault charges, my recent post, "Social Media Payback Can Be A Bitch Sometimes," reports that the Anonymous group's initiative titled "Operation Payback," are hacking all the Web sites that have severed ties with Assange. Among those targeted are financial organizations such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard.
Lady Gaga is probably a safer bet, even with all of her outrageous fashion. Her iconic status has been Lady Gagaon a meteoric climb and appeals to a large demographic. This year, she became the first artist to hit the 5 million mark in digital sales and the first celebrity to get more than 10 million fans on Facebook. But is that enough to earn the crown of "Person of the Year."
Recep Tayyip ErdoganIn the number two spot, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is lesser known in the East than the other two, but is probably just as controversial a figure as WikiLeaks' founder. While Iran's president Mahmud Ahmadinejad has been cast as the archetypal anti-Jew iconoclast, Turkey's prime minister, according to a Frontpagemag.com news report is "inching his way to the top of the list of 'Israel and Jew-haters.'
Ironically, Assange and Turkey's prime minister are intrinsically tied to each other. Based on the recent release of the WikiLeak cables, there was harsh criticism of the Turkish leadership accusing Erdogan of hiding large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts after profiting from business deals with Iran.
So who are your choices, readers for Time's Person Of The Year - alleged terrorist, pop icon or Turkish leader? Or perhaps you are more inclined to go with the popular vote's number 4 choice - a double award to the world's best comedy/news pundit team, since Abbott & Costello?
Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert
UPDATE: Boston. com - December 15 - Time picked Mark Zuckerberg for it's PERSON OF THE YEAR! -While the Facebook founder came in 10th place on the readers' poll, Time apparently thought that his social network warranted the recognition. Based on an unauthorized biopic, The Social Network movie and a graphic novel, the 26-year old wunderkind is no longer the Toddler CEO he was once labeled!
Facebook & Dumb F*cks graphic novel