How did you first hear about the death of Michael Jackson? From TV or one of your favorite online newspapers sites? Odds are you might have received the first word about the death via a social networking site such as Twitter. The news spread like wildfire online. The tweets from those that I follow began to make mention of the news before I heard from traditional news outlets.

According to a USA Today article, “Jackson dominated the discussion on Twitter, generating the most tweets per second since Barack Obama was elected president in November.” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told USA Today that they “saw twice the normal tweets per second the moment the story broke as people shared their grief and memories.”

The article also noted how “celebrity users on Twitter — including Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer, and Ryan Seacrest — posted their remembrances.”

After receiving the first tweet about the pop star’s death, I immediately went online to verify the information. And, it appears plenty of folks did the very same thing.

“Google has confirmed that the surge of Michael Jackson-related searches on Google News Thursday was first interpreted as an attack on its service,” according to

Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of, that shows the huge spike in traffic. Pretty neat. The spike in queries began at about 2:45 p.m. PDT Thursday, and Google thought the traffic was an attack for about 25 minutes before realizing what was going on.

Many folks couldn’t access Google News Thursday afternoon, and they received an error message because of the flood of traffic.

How did you first hear about Michael Jackson’s death?
Tagged on:                     

Leave a Reply