Most recently, Time magazine revealed yet another list of the world’s most influential people in the world, and this time Wael Ghonim, a Google executive from Egypt, is at the helm of this selected group thanks to his active participation during the revolts against the Hosni Mubarak regime by way of social media tools—primarily Facebook. What’s more, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made the cut for this list (his second mention in a row on this publication after being selected “Person of the Year” in 2010). Finally, Google’s CEO Larry Page was also included.
In another list called “The Time’s 100 Most Influential Things in the World,” Joel Stein lists “Tweets” as the world’s sixth most influential thing, behind earthquakes, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, youth unemployment, and bombs; whereas Facebook ranks 57 and Kiva, a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of internet and a network of microfinance institutions to alleviate poverty, takes up the 88th place.
(The magazine goes on to say that the cobra that escaped from the Bronx zoo was the 72nd most influential thing for a very particular reason: it entertained the social media world with witty tweets like this: “It's one of those days where I could just eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Mice Cream.”)
Certainly, the power of social media is widely known across the board. But the underlying reason for these nominations, particularly from those individuals who led the Middle East uprisings-- is the role of Social Media and the Web to make a positive change in society. And it also echoes humankind’s innate desire: A chance of opportunity