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Michael Jackson’s Death causes Social Media Explosion

30 June 2009 34 Comments
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Michael Jackson Death RIPAs everyone by now knows, Michael Jackson, one of the greatest pop icons in history died at the age of 50 due to undetermined causes. He was found unconscious by Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal doctor. Autopsies are underway to determine what may have caused this tragedy. The news so far from the coroner’s office is that there were no signs of foul play.

What followed was a wave of online attention never seen before. The spike in traffic was so abnormal that Google thought they were being attacked by a virus or spyware application. When people searched Google News for “Michael Jackson” they would receive an “we’re sorry” error page.

Some other social media statistics related to Michael Jackson’s Death:

  • Web Usage: Jumped to 4.2 million global visitors per MINUTE. Normal is around 2 million.
  • Web Search: More than 50% of top 100 searches were related to Michael Jackson
  • Mobile Search: Saw the largest spike ever with 5 of 20 searches being about Michael Jackson
  • Yahoo: Single day record of 16.4 million visitors
  • CNN: Significantly slowed as they saw 20 million page views and saw traffic jump 5x normal levels within the first hour after the news broke.
  • AIM: Went down for 40 minutes
  • iTunes: 8 of the top 10 selling albums for download were from Michael Jackson, 8 of the top 10 music videos were also Michael Jackson related. 5 of the top 10 songs.
  • Amazon: 10 of the top 25 albums for download were Michael Jackson.
  • Amazon: For all CD sales, Jackson held 17 of the top 20 spots including all top 10 slots.
  • Youtube: “Thriller Video” currently has 43.5 million views and 185,000 comments.
  • Youtube: Fans are uploading videos in droves in memory of Michael Jackson
  • Twitter: 5,000 tweets per minute
  • Twitter: 23% of all tweets dedicated to the star.
  • Twitter: 9 out of 10 popular topics were about Michael Jackson.
  • Twitter: Celebrities expresses sorrows while followed by millions on Twitter.
  • Facebook: Groups formed to organize vigils and celebration of Jackson
  • Domains: Nearly 4,000 domain names related to Michael Jackson registered on Go Daddy within the first day
  • Rumors: In conjuction with this news was a flurry of activity with rumors of Jeff Goldblum’s death. This was later shown to be unfounded.

Michael Jackson Death RIP Facebook

AOL called it a “seminal moment in Internet History… we’ve never seen anything like it”.

Every major news station highlighted Michael Jackson’s Death with large images with multiple articles covering his history, his glorious career, his troubled past, suspicions about his death, about his family, his wealth, and more. It was the fastest and largest wave of information over one news in such a short period of time. The internet as a whole was “slow” as all the major news stations and websites were slowed by the sudden surge in traffic.

I appreciate Michael Jackson’s talents, his singing ability, his dancing ability, it all was fantastic and worth admiring for what it was. However the question I want to pose is…

What does this incredible level of attention towards a pop icon tell us about the culture we live in?

If a war broke out between two small countries, it wouldn’t attract this level of attention. Millions of starving children? Most people wouldn’t read that article, too depressing. How about the continual sex trafficking occurring all around the world? Most people are not even aware of it.

I don’t blame the news outlets, since honestly most of the articles written are just fillers about random things as journalist are trying to find something they could write about. News like this is a goldmine. However they definitely help feed the fire. See some headlines below.

  • Unravelling Michael Jackson’s Finances – Newsweek
  • Michael Jackson dead at 50: Did drugs kill the King of Pop? – Telegraph
  • 6 Random Michael Jackson Pop-culture moments – NYmag
  • The History of Michael Jackson’s Face – Anomalies Unlimited
  • Michael Jackson and the Jewish Nose – Jewish Telgraphic Agency
  • Jackson’s art trumps questionable behavior – StatesmanJournal
  • Michael Jackson’s Ex-Nanny Reveals his Drug Habits – Celebuzz

I don’t need to read about the history of Michael Jackson’s face thank you. Every angle you can think of, they wrote it. But the world has never seen this kind of explosion in interest and activity over anything in such a short period of time.

Another Question:
How does one reconcile with the thought that Michael Jackson has a long history of being accused of molesting boys… yet is celebrated and admired on a level very few ever will achieve?

First of all let’s be clear, the question says “accused” not “convicted’. Michael Jackson was found not guilty of the accusations brought before him, though he still continued to allow boys to sleep in the same bed as he did. Yet with the plastic surgeries and the bleaching of skin, Michael Jackson’s was labeled “weird” and “perverse” and his reputation took a huge hit which he never recovered from. By the way Michael Jackson had a skin conditions that would create white blotches on his skin, thus the bleaching of his skin. In case you did not know.

This question is far broader than Michael Jackson. It is a question of how in many circumstances, a celebrity (or any person for that matter) could do the worst of things, yet it is often overshadowed or overlooked simply because of what they are able to accomplish. There are so many actors, singers, sports players who are involved in all sorts of scandals and shown to have very little morals or virtue, yet all it takes is another awesome acting performance, or the memory of some incredible song we all have grown fond of, to simply push all the “bad” aside. Is that right? What does that tell us about our culture and what does that teach our children? Just a thought.

“Michael Jackson proves, in a really sort of perverse way, that maybe we’re not as offended by behavior as we are entranced by music. And think about that. Think about what level of quality you must have to attain to have somebody say, “I know that you’re accused of having molested children, but I can’t hate you for that as much as I love you for your music.”

“There’s just one Michael Jackson now. We don’t have to reconcile the Michael Jackson we love with another Michael Jackson. In a way, he has returned to pristine condition in death. We can be free now for the rest of our lives to love the Michael Jackson we used to love.”
- John Mayer

  • Do you agree with this statement?
  • Does the fact that he contributed greatly to society both in his music and the blurrying of racial lines in music, “cover over” the fact he has been accused of perverse conduct? Does a right cover a wrong?
  • Does the world’s immense reaction to his death tell us anything about our culture focus and values?

Again, just a thought. What do you think?

Comments
  • kevan June 30, 2009 at

    Noticed the huge peak in web traffic surrounding the King of Pop. Off the charts on every single site I visited. Tech blogs, cooking blogs, they all talked about MJ. Thanks for the food for thought, to consider the celebrity culture we live in that makes much ado about a person’s entertainment value without ever bringing a moral judgment (or even a moral question) to bear on the person. Guess “morality is personal.”

  • social media agency June 30, 2009 at

    I am one of the fan of Michael Jackson since he start as a little boy singing with his brothers in Jackson 5 nothing can compares his talented voice and dances once u had heard its very inspirational and some of them are can make u dance, i believe that every people has a negative side too but i dont believe acusing him for molesting children coz as far as i can see he loves children so much maybe his life was already mark in a history of world as a great artist.

  • [...] I leave you with a few more statistics on MJ’s death (thank you CleanCutMedia): [...]

  • zella August 21, 2009 at

    I have only become a fan since his death, mostly going along with the media’s making fun of him through the years. The more I’ve researched about the man, the more I’m totally convince of his innocence, and can’t get enough of everything about him, his music, dance, personality, the anger of emotion at how greedy people and hateful people destroyed him, and immense stature of his international love for people of all races, ages, especially those suffering. The man was larger than life. He was definately the sexiest man on the planet through ALL the stages of his life. I’ve been purchasing videos, CD’s, magazines and books like crazy. He represents all humanity so uncannily.

  • hannah May 18, 2010 at

    mj was a great man people say that he took little boyz and had it with them i don’t think he did even no its on the internet people say
    that he was a nasty man but i dont belive that is true.i dont belive what people say about him im love him more than any body else could love him.me and my friend love him,but we didnt like when he held that
    baby over that balcony that was so sad if he would of killed that baby the mom or dad would probly woop his *** that would of been so ***** bad and he would been in JAIL 4 a long time and never got out of jail!!!!!!!!!!!!!P.S I LOVE MICHEAL JACKSON

  • chandra shekhar July 21, 2010 at

    jackson is a god of music

  • saidheeraj July 21, 2010 at

    he is a great man

  • saidheeraj July 21, 2010 at

    he is super power

  • tia August 16, 2010 at

    jackson is a god of everything about him, his music, dance,
    ,is a great man, is super power,love him more than any body else could love him. he loves children so much maybe his life was already mark in a history of world as a great artist. .I LOVE MICHEAL JACKSON

  • lhems August 22, 2010 at

    i’ve been a fan of jacko when he died.he change my life,he is the reason why i choose the right way to live,he’s a good entertainer,i don’t believe that he molested children,because he really love children,i luv u mj!

  • rizalyn September 3, 2010 at

    I’m so sad when i know that mj known as king of pop….is already dead…his so famous..when he dance in the floor and sing,,,,napapasayaw dn ako…sayang maaga syang namatay…pero marami naman syang mga alaala na naiwan sa tin ehhhh……sana may isa ring katulad niya na humalili….para naman kahit papano ehhh…mag roon ulit ng buhay ang mga kanta niya…..;we love you….rest in peace….

  • rizalyn September 4, 2010 at

    …dear mj or known as king of pop….wherever you from now …i want to say thank you na nag iwan ka ng mga kantang hindi namin malilimutan…i hope someday na …may isang mj pa na gayahin ka….your a powerfull man…..

  • iloveMJ September 12, 2010 at

    no one can replace MJ the king!He had a pure gold heart,he loved children,he never stopped loving and caring children,that’s the most i love of him.he made neverland;and gave a chance,opportunity,hope and happiness to underprivileged and unfortunate and sick children who wanted to experience,even just one ride on a ferris wheel gaves them happiness,he treated a lot of sick children,it’s unfortunate that some had tried to betrayed or backstabbed him,and it’s so so sad and unfair and cruel that neverland had been ruined or destroyed by people who had only dirty minds and false accusations,full of envy.until the end of his life he still cares on how to give and share of what he had,to help others in need,by giving 20% of his money to his charities on his will.that’s how great human being he was and is,and that’s the true Michael Jackson the person.
    I love you michael with all my heart,you’re an icon,a legend,a genius,humble,doting father,with pure innocent heart and soul,great artist,king of music,i’m proud being your FAN,michael and that’s for life!rest in peace my sweet angel,my king.
    Long live the KING!!!

  • MichaelPureSoul October 2, 2010 at

    You keep insisting with your article here that Michael Jackson was “guilty” but you said it yourself he was aquitted, so what’s your idea? Obviously it’s just to smudge more his image while giving the impression he was guilty. HE WAS INNOCENT !! And why say he bleached his skin when you well said he had a skin condition that is called vitiligo? The problem here is not what you think but what it is, there is NO WRONG to cover up Why don’t you preach about the WRONG done to him by the TABLOID MEDIA, the disgusting rumors that tortured him and followed him, that didn’t let him live a peaceful life !!

  • tia October 7, 2010 at

    You keep insisting with your article here that Michael Jackson was “guilty” but you said it yourself he was aquitted, so what’s your idea? Obviously it’s just to smudge more his image while giving the impression he was guilty. HE WAS INNOCENT !! And why say he bleached his skin when you well said he had a skin condition that is called vitiligo? The problem here is not what you think but what it is, there is NO WRONG to cover up Why don’t you preach about the WRONG done to him by the TABLOID MEDIA, the disgusting rumors that tortured him and followed him, that didn’t let him live a peaceful life !!

    [...] I leave you with a few more statistics on MJ’s death (thank you CleanCutMedia): [...]

    MJ is a VERY good person of everything about him, his music, dance,
    ,is a great man,MJ no one can replace MJ the king!He had a pure gold heart,he loved children,he never stopped loving and caring children,that’s the most i love of him.he made neverland;and gave a chance,opportunity,hope and happiness to underprivileged and unfortunate and sick children who wanted to experience,even just one ride on a ferris wheel gaves them happiness,he treated a lot of sick children,it’s unfortunate that some had tried to betrayed or backstabbed him,and it’s so so sad and unfair and cruel that neverland had been ruined or destroyed by people who had only dirty minds and false accusations,full of envy.until the end of his life he still cares on how to give and share of what he had,to help others in need,by giving 20% of his money to his charities on his will.that’s how great human being he was and is,and that’s the true Michael Jackson the person.
    I love you michael with all my heart,you’re an icon,a legend,a genius,humble,doting father,with pure innocent heart and soul,great artist,king of music,i’m proud being your FAN,michael and that’s for life!rest in peace MJJ.
    Long live the KING!!!

  • vijay October 23, 2010 at

    mj is my favorit singer dansser and best musican, i was love, i loving , i will love hi , mj is one of best man ih the world so cant beleve is deparccher, i lost youge one in my life , i never forget mjhe is the hero, in the world, mj, can not die, mj do not die, mj will not die, mj is living our heaart

  • karan November 20, 2010 at

    i wud like to say only one thing dat mj is immoprtal and no one can be like him. i salute him.

  • RogerG November 22, 2010 at

    Rest in peace my Baby bother of my era Because God knew your heart and Jesus protected you. now you go befor Our Father to judge, you have your wing. you prove to the world whom you were

  • BRIANA December 13, 2010 at

    YOU GUYS SHOULDN’T TALK ABOUT THIS . SOME KIDS THIS.RIP MY BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER

  • destiny336 December 19, 2010 at

    to me michael like family to me he will always be in my heart i will always love michael R.I.P MICHAEL JACKSON i will always love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THIS IS GONNA MAKE ME CRY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  • gopalkrishna December 23, 2010 at

    Michael i love u so much but we miss u.I hope that u will come back you will be always in my heart.Nobody can reach the Michael Jackson.I love uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  • lilly December 29, 2010 at

    LONG LIVE THE KING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    love you mj

  • Gisele January 15, 2011 at

    MJ RULES….I BOUGHT A TICKET TO THIS IS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BUT I ONLY HAVE MY LAST TICKET

  • tia January 17, 2011 at

    love you michael with all my heart,you’re an icon,a legend,a genius,humble,doting father,with pure innocent heart and soul,great artist,king of music,i’m proud being your FAN,michael and that’s for life!rest in peace MJJ.
    Long live the KING!!!

  • allison January 20, 2011 at

    I remember when i was little I was so little to remember but i went to the concert in Bucharest my mom bout had a heart attack! I was sitting on her shoulders and my dad was in Tennessee working he wasn’t much of a MJ fan but I always was!!!! forever live the king of pop!!

  • Jasmin March 3, 2011 at

    Michael cared about his children,his family,and his fans

  • Tom March 10, 2011 at

    ■Does the fact that he contributed greatly to society both in his music and the blurrying of racial lines in music, “cover over” the fact he has been accused of perverse conduct? Does a right cover a wrong?
    Are you serious? He was ACCUSED – not one spec of proof has been found that he was guilty, even though he was the most vetted person that ever lived. So nothing is being “covered over”. Except what the media did to him while he was alive.

  • [...] Check out these social media stats from the week following Jackson’s death (the commentary on the source post for these stats is also worthy of [...]

  • barry April 20, 2011 at

    Micheal jackson i cant believe you died.To me your still an icon.im proud that im still your fan.one thing i loved about you was your ability of loving children.i llv you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

  • kayenat April 20, 2011 at

    im abig fan of you mj.im just 8 years old.i knew you when te news said your dead.i love all your songs.you are an icon and a pop star and you will always be.i luv you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • love April 30, 2011 at

    This article is very interesting. I can conclude from this that ur not a fan… Dont really care if you’re not but being close-minded and Ignorant like the Media wont help you in the long run. Michael was, is and will always be innocent, NOT because I say so, but Because there is NO way he’d hurt anything. If he was in the wrong, God would not have been on his side! Just because you have a perverted Mind doenst make Michael Guilty!!!

    And You wrote this 5 Days after his passing? u should really be ashamed!

    L.o.v.e.

  • angelofthenorth May 1, 2011 at

    MICHEAL JACKSON TO ME WAS A LEGEND, HE LEFT HIS MARK ON THE WORLD.
    I HOPE NOW UR AT PEACE MJ, UL NEVER BE FORGOTEN, UR MUSIC WILL BE
    LISENED TO AN ENJOYED FOREVER.
    GOD BLESS YOU, FOR EVERYTHING YOU GAVE US, LOVE AND RESPECT,
    FROM ANGELOFTHENORTH8

  • Lahi May 15, 2011 at

    Michael Jackson was the kindest man,..There ever was.
    Michael was a kid at heart and was so wonderful,All most all the rude people out there judged Michael and were mean to him.
    Michael was so innocent and so sweet,and no-matter how many times people tried to upset Michael,..Michael always smiled it didn’t matter if he was going through the roughest times.
    I don’t care what people think I love Michael Joseph Jackson.
    Michael was every-thing wonderful,Michael was talented,smart,loving,tender,amazing,funny,and most of all he brightened up the world. He taught the world to live life to the fullest and no-matter what you can always do any-thing you dream of,Nothing is impossible. Michael left us at such a young age. Michael Jackson let us all know though how much he loved us all.
    Keep this in mind looks are not every-thing,..it was Michael Jackson’s personality that made Michael,Michael Joesph Jackson.

  • Lahi May 15, 2011 at

    God Bless you Michael Jackson
    I love you.

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