Getting to the top in tech: A decade of Google search interests on Mark Zuckerberg

It’s safe to say, Mark Zuckerberg is not only one of the most famous and successful people on the planet, but a true leader of the 21st century and the digital age. The work of this entrepreneur has had a life-changing impact on people today and is an inspiration to inventors across all industries, technology in particular.

But how did one man transform the way the world not only perceives and interacts with technology, but also how a huge part of the human population communicates with one another?

Mark Zuckerberg’s Early Years

Zuckerberg from as early as the age of 12 has always had an interest in technology and communications. At this young age, he created a messaging program named Zucknet, which he then implemented as an inter-office communication system for his father’s dental practice. It was clear that Zuckerberg’s skill and ability were far from the norm, and his parents soon employed a computer programming tutor for the tech whizz kid to learn and grow even further. A few years later, Zuckerberg went to Harvard University where he continued to develop his interest in communication platforms. Known across campus for being the best computer programmer, Zuckerberg set up two platforms called CourseMatch and FaceMash. Which soon became immensely popular across the university, despite FaceMash having to be shut down after it was deemed to be inappropriate. Soon after this, Zuckerberg and his friends set up 'TheFacebook', which ran out of a dorm room until June 2004. Zuckerberg later dropped out to put all his efforts into the company, and made his way to Silicon Valley in 2005, which is where Facebook’s journey to success really kicked off.

The Rise of Facebook

Since then, Facebook has become one of the world’s most well-known social media platform of all time, and since its inception back in July 2003, has grown exponentially over the last 15 years to impact at least a third of the entire human population, with the platform having a whopping 2.375 billion users. The CEO was also credited to have created a social network that has more monthly active users than any single country in the world has people.

It is the scale and the speed of growth that has really skyrocketed Mark Zuckerberg’s success and has made him one of the most influential leaders in the digital age. His successes are a reflection not only of his immense hard work but also of the world’s evolution to increasingly digital lifestyles. Since the beginning of the millennium especially, we have seen technology transform significantly, with everyday devices getting more advanced, processes becoming significantly more efficient in the workplace, and people’s everyday lives becoming more entwined with technology. Zuckerberg was the right person that came along at the right time with the right idea, and as a result, has been a key driver of this digital revolution.

In addition, it is Zuckerberg’s interest and drive towards intertwining technology with communication and the general public that has made him one of the most famous and popular CEOs on the planet today. Zuckerberg is then not only a driver of the digital revolution, pushing technology forward, but he is doing this with the public in mind, intending to have a direct impact on them.

Zuckerberg’s drive for communicative technology and social media has made him the face of his social network sensation Facebook and, with the majority of voting rights, he essentially has complete control of one of the world’s most influential companies. With the company's total market capitalization now worth an incredible $549.5 billion, Zuckerberg has enjoyed both the successes and the backlash of Facebook’s journey over the last 15 years.

The journey to success, with the world watching

But the journey to success, like it is for all leaders, comes with its challenges and pitfalls, and Zuckerberg is no exception. On his journey to enormous amounts of wealth and fortune, Zuckerberg has faced some pretty blowing defeats, with one of his greatest challenges taking place as recently as 2018.

RS Components have created a infographic mapping the Google search interests of Mark Zuckerberg since 2008, the year he became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 23, until Kylie Jenner recently took the title. The graphic maps a decade of Zuckerberg’s major life events both professional and personal, that have gained the interest of the public.

The top results that produced the highest Google searches for Zuckerberg over the last decade include:

2018 - a rough year for Zuckerberg to say the least

Since the birth of Facebook over 15 years ago, 2018 was arguably one of Mark Zuckerberg’s roughest yet, as Facebook has faced scandal after scandal. This year saw Google searches around Zuckerberg at their highest, as events unfolded across the media for the whole world to see.

So what actually happened?

In April 2018, Zuckerberg testified before Congress following a revelation that Facebook had shared users’ data with a political consulting firm named Cambridge Analytics. The incident was broadcast across the media and Facebook was blasted for compromising user trust and privacy. Later on in the year, in July, the company was warned by investors to slow the growth and profit margins and start addressing the need to manage the battle between profit and privacy better, as incidents with Cambridge analytics exposed Facebook’s inability to protect users from harmful misinformation and misuse.

These huge data breaches impacted both Facebook and Zuckerberg’s personal wealth significantly, and the company has faced multiple government investigations into its policies and practices since the scandal broke out. What makes these scandals so significant is the scale of users Zuckerberg’s Facebook has, with nearly a third of the world having an account, the news that user privacy was being compromised has caused major uproar across the globe and distrust with both the CEO and his company. Facebook stock lost more than a fifth of its value, and with Zuckerberg himself owning nearly 17% of this, faced a serious drop in his own wealth as well, losing $9 billion and dropping three places on the Forbes 2018 global billionaires list. Since these events, Zuckerberg has been working to rebuild the public’s trust in Facebook.

Zuckerberg’s personal life beats many of his professional achievements

The public are notorious for paying a great interest in the personal lives of many celebrities, no matter how successful or skilled they are in a particular field. For Zuckerberg this is no different, as despite his fortune and fame from starting one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, the media are still more interested in his personal life, rather than his professional achievements. Over the last decade, the second and third most popular topics in the news around Zuckerberg, that saw Google searches skyrocket, were in May 2012 when the CEO married Priscilla Chan and in December 2015, when the announcement of the birth of the couple’s baby girl came through.

Interestingly, both of these events had a connection to Zuckerberg’s professional decisions, as despite search results being high for his marriage to Chan, these could also have been because of his decision the day before his wedding to make Facebook public and announce a $104 billion IPO.

The birth of Maxima unsurprisingly caused huge surges of Google interest, however, what followed sparked controversy against the couple, as Zuckerberg and Chan authored an open letter where they pledged to give 99% of their Facebook stock to the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative. This method of donating his fortune saw Zuckerberg faced with great criticism, as the charitable foundation set up by the couple allowed the potential for the trust to benefit their family more than the trust itself.

Other events that saw particularly significant spikes in Google search interests include the premiere of ‘The Social Network’; the film that tells the story of the founding of Facebook, which to this day continues to cause debate and controversy over the CEOs actions. Again, this film allowed the public to get an insight into some of the personal story of Zuckerberg, which caused great excitement and intrigue, and as a result saw Google searches rise.

Mark Zuckerberg in the News: The Facebook Founder's Highs and Lows - infographic

So what will be in store for the next decade for Zuckerberg? The last 10 years have seen huge amounts of growth, wealth and success, as well as controversy, all of which the tech CEO has dealt with in the public eye. What will be the coming events both professional and personal that will catch the interest and attention of the rest of the world?
Mark Zuckerberg in the News: A Decade of Google Searches
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