Thursday, June 25, 2009

Do You Remember the Times?

Today, Michael Jackson passed away. Though I just birthed this blog, I don't think an incident like this can go unnoticed in the blogosphere.

A few ruminations:

I have learned that the fastest way to obtain the most up-to-the-minute news is through Facebook. Forget CNN, BBC, MSNBC, NY Times, etc. In case of incident, injury, or emergency always, always, always consult Facebook first.

Example 1: When there was a small earthquake in LA a few months ago (I didn't feel it), everyone on Facebook was talking about it. I checked the news websites, there was nothing about it. Twenty minutes later, the LA Times and CNN finally reported it.

Example 2: When the metro trains collided in D.C. last week, I was just hanging out on my Facebook when all of the sudden I see a handful of status posts about the metro collision, including one person who was actually ON one of the trains that collided. I checked the news, nothing. Twenty minutes later, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN finally reported it.

Today, I am checking in on Facebook and I see about 5 posts about Michael Jackson's death. I check the usual newswires - all they say is that he is hospitalized. In about 25 minutes, nearly everyone on my Facebook has commented on the death and still not one news source would confirm.

There is power in the ability to report and record events. No longer is it a power reserved for the media, or publishing houses for that matter. We can claim and use information for our own means, and we must! In a small way, this is why I started this blog.

Back to MJ. You know, I wasn't probably cool enough to listen to MJ's music when I was really young (I worked for a children's radio station after all, I am pretty sure Billy Jean was not acceptable programming.) Then, when I reached 10th grade I became buddies with some eccentric friends that loved the 80's. We would drive around Washington D.C. in my friend Meredith's little Ford Tempo blasting all things MJ.

To me, Michael Jackson's music embodies mix tapes and memories. And though MJ faced some tough issues in his life, as an artist he dramatically innovated and invigorated pop music.

How has Michael Jackson's music been woven into the soundtrack of your lives? How did you hear about his death? Do you care about his death, and the hype of his passing when so many people around the world die every day? How does Facebook change the role of the media? Or does it? Have you noticed these same kinds of reporting trends in your social networking sites? Does this access to information empower you, or worry you? Post any thoughts on these or other topics of interest in the comments.

(Photos attributed to the LA Times and Getty Images)


  1. I have to say that I was quite devastated to hear the news of MJ's death. His music is the soundtrack to my childhood. My mom loves to remind me of being no more than 3 years old rocking out in my carseat screaming 'Beat it, Mommy! Beat it!'

    No matter how you feel about him personally, you cannot eny the impact this man has had on music.

  2. We talked lightly about MJ dying at work when we found out it happened, in part becuase we were amazed that facebook was the first place to post it... not an online news magazine. But when I got in my car to drive home the radio was playing Jackson 5 and I am not ashamed to admit I cried a good part of the drive, which totaly surprised me, I had no idea I would be so sad.

    When I got home I thought about my sister who is in the rain forest of Costa Rica right now and probably still has no idea and that made me extra sad because she is such a big fan. Late that night I smoked one cigarette for him and now I'm trying to move on.