Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, was primarily known as a mysterious, sweatshirted figure, a Silicon Valley wunderkind familiar mainly to those in tech circles.
But this year, Zuckerberg has been thrust into pop culture ubiquity, appearing on screens of all shapes and sizes, from "Oprah" to one of the year's most acclaimed films.
On Wednesday, his public ascent was solidified by Time magazine, which named him its "Person of the Year." He's the youngest choice for the honor since the first one chosen, Charles Lindbergh in 1927.
In a posting — where else? — on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said being named Time's "Person of the Year" was "a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I'm happy to be a part of that."
It caps a remarkable year for Zuckerberg and Facebook, which has more than 500 million users worldwide and market valuations that go into double-digit billions. In countless redesigns and new features, Facebook has been pushing toward becoming not just a social media hangout, but also the underlying, connecting fabric of the Internet.
Time, which many expected to choose the news-making WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for "Person of the Year," cited Zuckerberg "for changing how we all live our lives."
"I'm trying to make the world a more open place," Zuckerberg says in the "bio" line of his own Facebook page.