Are you sure, Mark?


Meta CEO and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in tech — but he may be overestimating his reach outside that nerdy hemisphere. Leave it to tech CEOs, of course, to have an inflated sense of self-importance.

In a series of emails sent to Meta bigwigs in 2020 that were shared this week by the Internal Tech Emails newsletter, Zuckerberg ruminated on the growing role that millennials will have to play in the future, both as voters and leaders of governments and institutions. Zuckerberg thinks that Facebook, as a company "built primarily by millennials," should embrace the fact that it plays a "disproportionate role in defining the experience of this generation."

This topic leads him to discuss his personal part in all this — which in his generous estimation, is very, very, big.

"While our company has a special role in the lives of this generation, this is likely particularly important for how I show up because I am the most well-known person of my generation," Zuckerberg wrote.

Rest of the Pack

Generations are a tricky thing to define — and fame is hard to gauge — but in simple terms, millennials are folks born between 1981 and 1996. Mark, born in '84, is certainly one of them — and he is certainly at least one of the most famous millennials, as the robotic visage behind Facebook, the world's largest social media platform.

To matter-of-factly declare that he is in fact, "the most well-known" millennial without any qualifiers, though, sounds like pure hubris, ignorance, or both. Either way, it's pretty amusing. Is Zuckerberg aware of what sports are, aside from the ones that involve bludgeoning each other to death? Because soccer mega-stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would probably like a word.

And in the broader realm of pop culture, you might wager on the likes of Taylor Swift being more famous, too. Call it quibbling on an offhand remark, but Zuckerberg certainly faces stiff — and probably more charismatic — competition.

Fresh Looks

Nonetheless, the exchange, cited in the state of Tennessee's ongoing lawsuit against Meta that alleges it harmfully targeted young users, is said to be a revealing one. Not just in the sense that it's shown just how important Zuckerberg thinks himself to be, but also in that it might explain why he all of a sudden started (trying) to look more hip.

Gone were the nondescript, form-fitting gray t-shirts and blue jeans of old. This year, Zuckerberg all of a sudden started donning gold chains, huge coats, and billowing floral prints. Is this a conscious effort on the tech overlord's part to take up the mantle as the leading millennial? Maybe. But does he need to play the part so... gaudily? Also maybe.

But if we're wrong, and he is the most famous millennial on the planet, that top spot could do with some usurping. Because millennials: surely you guys can do better.

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