As 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.
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.
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?