The Web And Michael Jackson’s Death

June 26th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Michael Jackson

A death of a celebrity surely would cause sadness to a lot of fans. That is why the Web gets inundated with searches associated with a recent celebrity death. Search trends seem to follow the lead of such news. But in the case of Michael Jackson’s death, things can get really out of hand on the Web.

It was maybe due to the suddenness of the news that the Web came in with a huge wave of users trying to get more updates about the recent news of MJ’s death. According to reports, the first news that ever came online was from the hugely popular TMZ site. The news came in on Tuesday at around 2 pm. As people got word of it, many wanted to get into the site to confirm the report. It was maybe due to the sudden huge influx of visits to the site that TMZ was then reported to have gone down several times.

The news further spread into Twitter. People hearing about the then unconfirmed news sent out Tweets to friends to get some confirmation. This led to the news further spreading into the Twitter community as more and more people wanted confirmation on the news. It got so huge that the Search and Trending feature on Twitter was mostly about Michael Jackson. It was maybe due to the huge avalanche of searches for info on MJ’s death that this usual Twitter feature was temporarily disabled in order for the site to stay up. 

Even Wikipedia suffered from the sudden news. Once the news broke out, some people logged in to the site and inserted edits on Michael Jackson’s page concerning his death. There were also others who deleted such entries saying that the reports about the death were not yet verified. This went on for some time while the Wikipedia editors wrestled with the idea of whether to allow such unverified reports to be added on the online encyclopedia.

During the ordeal, the site seemed to be overloaded temporarily that it experienced technical difficulties that resulted into reported site errors. The people at Wikipedia decided to lock from any edits two articles about Michael Jackson to prevent the add-delete chaos on the site and to maintain some bit of order.

It has been quite a day for the Web, the day that Michael Jackson died. Rest in peace, King of Pop.