June 25, 2009

News of Jackson's Death First Spread Online; Traditional News Sources Lag

From Yahoo! News:

It was a where-were-you moment in a digital age. Michael Jackson's death was not learned from a fatherly TV news anchor. Instead, the news first spread online…

The celebrity website TMZ.com broke the news of Jackson's death at 5:20 p.m.

It was a huge scoop for the AOL-owned TMZ, though many did not believe TMZ's report until it was matched by more established news organizations…

Jackson dominated the discussion on Twitter, generating the most tweets per second since Barack Obama was elected president in November.

"We saw over twice the normal tweets per second the moment the story broke as people shared their grief and memories," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in an e-mail.

The tweeting tripped up Twitter briefly, but engineers quickly responded to keep the service running. At times, Jackson-related search topics were the most popular on the site.

Celebrity users on Twitter — including Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer, Ryan Seacrest and ?uestlove of the Roots — posted their remembrances…

So many people wanted to verify the early reports of Jackson's death that the computers running Google's news section interpreted the fusillade of "Michael Jackson" requests as an automated attack from about 5:40 p.m. through 6:15 p.m.

As a defense mechanism, Google's news section responded to requests for information about Michael Jackson with squiggly letters known as a "captcha." Just as online ticket buyers regularly do to complete their purchases, the Michael Jackson searchers had to enter the letters correctly to see Google's new results…

On YouTube, traffic flowed to music videos of Jackson, while thousands posted videos of themselves sharing their thoughts on Jackson.

Others were using Facebook to organize vigils and celebrations of Jackson. One in San Francisco with nearly 50 confirmed guests hoped to recreate the "Thriller" dance.

Within a few hours of the news of Jackson's death, his 1982 album "Thriller" was the No. 1 album on iTunes. Several of his discs were also in the top 10 of the digital store.


Susie Sharp Librarian said...

I guess what I think is sad is that Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer yesterday too and noone seems to be remembering her.She was a huge icon also.

Phillip Kwik said...

Point well taken.

Here is a nice tribute to Farrah Fawcett, from mental_floss.