A 21-year-old college student who goes by the name of 'moot' has scored a stunning victory over the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Sonia Gandhi to be named "World's Most Influential Person" by Time magazine.
The founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily win the third annual Time 100 poll, the magazine said Monday.
Since moot launched 4chan.org in 2003, the site has given birth to Internet memes (symbols) as diverse as Lolcats and Rickrolling. 4chan averages 13 million page views a day and 5.6 million visitors a month; by some estimates it is the second largest bulletin board in the world," it said.
To those questioning moot's worthiness of the title, Time.com managing editor Josh Tyrangiel says moot is no less deserving than previous title holders like Nintendo video-game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (2007) and Korean pop star Rain (2006).
"I would remind anyone who doubts the results that this is an Internet poll," he says. "Doubting the results is kind of the point."
US President Barack Obama is a distant 37, while Dalai Lama is placed at 61st in the list. Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has taken the second place in the top 100, followed by evangelist Rick Warren (third), Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud (fourth) with Internet search giant Google's Larry Brilliant taking the fifth position.
For the record three Indians - Congress party president Sonia Gandhi (62), movie mogul Ronnie Screwvala (70) and the brain behind world's cheapest car Nano Ratan Tata (97) - also feature in the list.
Besides the three in top 100, business tycoon Mukesh Ambani (146), figures in the extended list of 203 influential people.
Three people of India-origin - public face for Washington's Troubled Asset Relief Programme Neel Kashkari (162), cola queen Indra Nooyi (165) and Harvard-educated management consultant Ram Charan (169) - also feature in the list.
About Sonia Gandhi the Time says: "The Italian-born head of India's most influential political party is beloved by her constituents, not only because of her family history but also because of her efforts to combat poverty." However, "she has been bogged down by a public spat with one of her rivals".
Noting Ratan Tata introduced the Tata Nano, the world's first $2,500 car, Time said: "Set for release in India this spring, the 'people's car' could be a boon for low-income communities." But "its low price could make the cars too accessible, flooding streets with even more CO2-spouting vehicles".
Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire chairman of Reliance Industries "steers one of the biggest conglomerates in India, with interests in not only oil, but also clothing and kitchenware", Time said. But "he's still mired in a public spat with his billionaire brother. Our proposal: duke it out using pillows stuffed with $1,000 bills."