Business - Written by Laura M. Carrillo on Friday, June 26, 2009 8:42 - 8 Comments
Michael Jackson and The Twitter Factor
How intriguing is it that social media and online sources are scooping more mainstream news outlets? Maybe they are the new mainstream?
As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, The MTV Generation, I can’t help but be shocked and saddened by the passing of both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson yesterday. MJ’s music in particular was and still is a large part of my life and it feels as though my childhood died just a little in the last 24 hours. That said, what I found interesting was the way that many found out about Michael’s death and the controversy surrounding report sources. CNN losing a scoop to TMZ? Per the Los Angeles Times, when asked about its Jackson coverage, CNN said: “Given the nature of this story we exercised caution.” It seems that while all of the “major” news sources were going with reports of MJ being in a coma, a TMZ blog broke the news of his death which was quickly picked up on Twitter and Facebook.
Wikipedia fought with people making modifications to Michael Jackson’s profile and eventually took down the site to disallow the numerous reports of Michael’s death? “ONCE AGAIN, HE IS NOT DEAD, JUST STOP,” wrote one of the editors who deleted Jackson’s date of death.
It was only 11 short years ago that Diana, Princess of Wales sudden death was being reported and covered 24X7 on every television station across the globe. Had theTMZ Blog, Twitter or Facebook been around, how much sooner would we, the public have known? Would it have mattered if we knew 20 minutes or 1 hour before “official word”? Could Diana’s death have garnered the same response? Tributes popping up in minutes,Flickr graphing MJ tracks played per hour, Twitter and Facebook profile pictures being changed to memorialize the deceased, “What’s Your Favorite MJ Song” – posted by many, apparently I’ll Be There by the Jackson 5 is winning by a landslide according to @dannymasterson.
Per The LA Times, Twitter activity measured over 5,000 Tweets about Michael Jackson at its peak, causing some, including myself, to have issues logging in. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone stated in an email “We saw an instant doubling of tweets per second the moment the story broke,” Stone wrote .. “This particular news about the passing of such a global icon is the biggest jump in tweets per second since the U.S. presidential election.” The power of social media is obvious.
Of course given the nature of social media tools and the ease of accessibility to anyone, it does provide an easy channel for rumors to start. Shortly after the Michael Jackson death was reported, rumors of Jeff Goldblum’s demise were rampant. Twitter post by @KevinSpacey “Jeff Goldblum is alive and well. I just spoke to his manager. Stop these stupid rumors.” So how much can we believe and when is it OK to “jump the gun” just to get the scoop? The quick reaction from celebrities and others on Twitter seem to support the case that social media is in general fairly self policing. The ease of access not only allows rumors to spread quickly, but also to be squashed just as quickly, often by the person directly affected.
Bottom line – Social media tools are just that, media, not just for reporting and verifying news but for supplying an extended community that allows for quick sharing of news AND views. These are the channels that allow the masses to learn from each other to express sadness, joy, accolades and criticisms.
RIP to all the famous faces we lost this week – Ed McMahon,Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.
My question to you – How did you hear about Michael Jackson’s death? 1.0 or 2.0
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