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Despite a less-than-flattering
depiction in this year's hit movie "The Social Network," 26-year old
CEO and creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has just been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for
2010. He is among the youngest winners of this honor, Charles
Lindbergh was the first and youngest recipient at 25, and Queen Elizabeth was
accorded the honor at 26, "but unlike the Queen, he did not inherit an
empire; he created one," (the Queen set up her own Facebook page this
year). If you are wondering why Time gave the honor to Zuckerberg rather
than some of the prominent runners up like The Tea Party, Julian Assange (the
brains behind WikiLeaks), or the Chilean Miners, just consider some of these
staggering statistics about Facebook and what they mean to us as human beings
communicating in ways not possible before Zuckerberg created this network in a
Harvard dorm room in February 2004 (see more about Facebook statistics):
These statistics and Time's awarding
Zuckerberg the 2010 honor demonstrate that online social networking is causing
a monumental change in human behavior both on and offline. It's changing
the way we share, communicate, keep in touch, shop, find out about things, and
conduct business. When Facebook hits 1 billion members what will it mean
for us then? As 2011 ushers in a new year of promises and predictions one
thing is for certain: it is no longer a question of whether your business or
law firm should be using social media, rather the question is "how are you
Even in an industry like law, which
many would call "tech and risk adverse," the opportunities presented
by Facebook and online social networking are huge. From business
development to evidence gathering, lawyers need to know their way around social
media, and the 2010 Time Person of the Year choice confirms this fact even
more. We are entering a new age where a whole generation will not even
remember life before the Internet (Zuckerberg's is one of the last generations
who will). The planet is only going to become more wired, not less, and
for the legal profession this means new challenges and opportunities.
This is something we've spoken about for the past two years now in the groups Social Media for Lawyers and Social Media Policy, and on our Twitter account MHTweets.
Now the ante has been upped and I think we are going to see things move faster
than ever before, especially for lawyers. What do you think?
Posted on behalf of Mike Mintz via Mintz's Wordz: Straight Talk on the Law