Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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Friday, June 26, 2009

The Passing of Legends and How The World Reacts

This week has been a very busy week for The Grim Reaper, taking three celebrities.

Ed McMahon was the first to go, the famous sidekick of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Farrah Fawcett died this morning of cancer. Michael Jackson died this evening of apparent cardiac arrest.

There are plenty of articles out there covering the deaths and life stories of these celebrities. Jackson was clearly the most popular of the three, attaining international stardom and a nearly religious-like following among his fans. But I'm more interested in the other events not popularly reported on by the mainstream media.

First, there's Internet traffic. Internet traffic reported a huge spike in usage when Jackson's death was reported. Since he was such an international star, this is not surprising, but to see a graph jump like this after one man's death, and to remain constant, is truly amazing. I'd like to see the graph on Internet traffic for September 11, 2001, and see how that compares. But I'm sure the statistics are quite different, since a lot of Internet traffic passed through the Twin Towers, especially traffic in NYC and surrounding areas.

Second, eBay went nuts. A report on Fox News during Greta's late coverage stated informally that Jackson items for sale rose from 3000 at the time of his death, to 12000 at the time of the report. And so the vultures begin to circle. Every Thiller album is now worth ten times what it was this morning. Any autograph is priceless. Pictures are worth a small fortune. And let's not forget the frauds -- there will be so many "genuine" Jackson items flooding the market it will be sickening and sad.

Finally, the speed in which the news spread. Specifically, when Jackson died, the speed by which the news hit was like nothing I'd ever seen. I received a phone call 5 minutes after the news hit. Before that, Facebook friends and Twitter contacts went nuts. There is no such thing as slow news anymore, and this event proves that.

I'll watch the TV, cable news, and read tons of reports and see tons of pictures, but I'll be more interested in the behind-the-scenes events.

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