Power, unlike beauty, is less in the eye of the beholder and more in the hands of the cudgel-wielder.
The question, then, is just how much people ought to be shivering at the idea that Forbes has declared Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the ninth most powerful person in the world.
Yes, it seems there are only eight people alive who can stop him in his quest to control precisely everything.
Who, of those eight, might be prepared to do it? At No. 1 is President Barack Obama. But he seems pleasantly disposed to Zuckerberg. They’ve even had dinner together.
CC Deney Terrio/Flickr)
This merely leaves Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Bill Gates, the King of Saudi Arabia, the Pope, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Some might have imagined that Bill Gates would still be competitive enough to halt the lone fellow techie in the top 10. Then they might remember that Microsoft has money in Facebook.
So unless Prime Minister (and future repeat President) Putin and President Hu can get together to create a brand new worldwide social network, it will surely be over.
Privacy will be defined by whatever our World SocialNet Party Leader feels is appropriate for our future. Elections will be exclusively held on Facebook. Having 20,000 friends will be compulsory, as will penning 15 posts a day, including at least five videos.
Those who transgress will be sent to hard labor on the Collective FarmVille.
Forbes explained that it looked first at how many people the folks on their list had power over. Yes, when it comes to Zuckerberg, they included you and me among his subjects.
Then they looked at the financial resources controlled by the candidates and whether they were influential in more than one sphere.
Lastly, Forbes looked at something very important: how “actively” these powerful people wielded their power.
So there you have it. As you look into the future, please consider which of these people is most likely to wield more power over more people more actively, with more money.
I rest my case. I rest it on my doorstep. My case and I are leaving for an unknown land. My Facebook friends will never know where. I can’t risk that.