As the news of Michael Jackson's fate unfolded, sites around the Web felt the strain of spiking interest. On Twitter, the volume of Jackson-related messages up to 5,000 per minute at peak put such a demand on the site that it slowed considerably. ... Facebook saw a frenzy of activity, too. ... The number of status updates during the hour after the Jackson news emerged was triple the average.
Online chatterers reported slowness at other social hubs, including AOLs popular instant message system and at the blog site LiveJournal. The Los Angeles Times website creaked beneath the weight of the story as well, with nearly 2.3 million page views in one hour, more traffic than during any single hour last Nov. 5, the sites highest-traffic day.
TMZ.com got the scoop about Jackson being sent to the hospital. But the site went down from the surge of traffic. ... the following sites all slowed significantly: ABC, AOL, LA Times, CNN Money and CBS. Starting at 230 pm PST, the average load time for a news site slowed from 4 seconds to 9 seconds.
This is not supposed to happen. ... And yet networks still buckle under the weight of traffic when something like todays events shakes the whole world. ... And that leads me to consider the future. As tragic as Michael Jacksons death is, its only a small taste of what would happen in a true calamity. ... Who will be there to listen when we collectively Tweet for help? What will we do if the emergency plan is stored on the network?
Perez Hiltons hugely popular blog may have failed as people rushed there to try and confirm the news. ... It was probably to be expected that Twitter would struggle as reportedly hundreds of thousands of tweets came in about Jackson in a very short amount of time. While I only got a couple actual Fail Whales, the site was really sucking wind for much of the hour that people were trying to get information about him.
It's a reminder that the web still has a long way to go before it can replace one way venues such as television. In fact I'd go further and say the technology industry needs to take serious note of this. As the industry pushes more and more into programs and services that require greater bandwidth it's instructive to see how even people seeking simple text can bring the biggest sites to their knees.
We are living on borrowed time bandwidth wise and, as Robert X. Cringely is so fond of pointing out, a web where everyone is streaming in HD is not something our current bandwidth capabilities can support. That's something we should all take notice of.
As Mark Twain said, A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is just putting on its shoes. (Actually, Im not positive that Twain said thatbut hes often quoted on the Web as having said so. If he didnt, the quote is self-affirming.)
When I checked in with Twitter ... this afternoon ... the Twittersphere was mourning Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jeff Goldblum. Jeff Goldblum? Yes, the sad news had broken that he had fallen to his death while filming a movie in New Zealand. Many accepted the reports as true ... Imperfect though Twitter may be, I love it. But I consider it a source of news leads, not news.
The world will move on but it theres no doubt his Facebook Page will become one of the top Facebook Pages after news of his death revives peoples memories of the idol. My entire Facebook news feed has become a stream of messages about Jacksons death and filled with peoples memories of the legend. Its impressive to watch the amount of conversation currently taking place around the web all about Michael Jackson.
For those that use blip.fm, the site is filled with songs from Michael Jackson. All around the web there is Michael Jackson memorials sprouting up which is an interesting thing to watch and with the web becoming increasingly social, its mostly conversations about peoples memories of the man. It seems like people have practically ended business for the day to memorialize him and are blaring their favorite Michael Jackson songs.