It's been a rough week, especially for those of us who grew up in the 1970s. First, we lost Ed McMahon, who we always hoped would show up at our doorstep with a big check. Then, came news of Farrah Fawcett, who always got the bad guy and launched a hair revolution among us. But it was the shocking news (confirmed, then unconfirmed, then finally confirmed) of Michael Jackson's death that rattled the online world the most.
The passing of the King of Pop set multiple records across Yahoo!. On our front page, the story "Michael Jackson rushed to hospital" was the highest clicking story in our history. It generated a whopping 800,000 clicks within 10 minutes and news of his death saw 560,000 clicks in 10 minutes. Also, the news area on our front page experienced five times the amount of traffic it normally receives.
Yahoo! News set an all-time record in unique visitors with 16.4 million people, surpassing our previous record of 15.1 million visitors on election day. Four million people visited the site between 3-4pm Pacific time, setting an hourly record. We also recorded 175 million page views yesterday, our fourth highest after Inauguration Day, the day after the Inauguration, and Hurricane Ike.
In Yahoo! Music, a staggering 21,000 people left comments on a blog post about the music legend. And over on Flickr, more than 4,000 Michael Jackson-related images have been posted in the last day, including art images labeled as "in tribute" and photos of spontaneous memorials all over the world, such as this Thriller "flashdance" in San Francisco.
Also, here's a behind-the-scenes look at our search logs, revealing what our users were most curious about as they tried to reconcile the news:
- Michael Jackson - including variations of his name and nicknames
- Photos - especially for photos of his face and how it changed throughout the years; also, searches for "plastic surgery"
- Videos - both videos of Michael Jackson and his music videos
- Music - Jackson Five music and his solo work; also searches for his albums and songs
- Songs - including lyrics, especially for hits like Thriller, Man in the Mirror, Billy Jean, and PYT
- Questions - "did Michael Jackson die?", "who is Michael Jackson?" (!!), "when did Michael Jackson die?", "why did Michael Jackson die?"
- Cardiac arrest - and other medical terms mentioned in the news
- People - lots of searches for Jackson family members; notable friends like Quincy Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, his lawyer; ex-wives Debbie Rowe and Lisa Marie Presley; and his children
- Elvis Presley - not just because of the Lisa Marie connection, but people want to know how old Elvis was when he died
- Places - Holmby Hills, UCLA Medical Center, Encino, and his house location
- Hoax rumors - given that TMZ.com was the first to confirm his death, people wondered if it was all true. Then came rumors of Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum's deaths.
- RIP Michael Jackson - was very prominent in Twitter
- Drugs - for the pain killer Demerol and other variations/spellings
- Celebrity death in threes - because apparently people are superstitious
- How to moonwalk - because nobody did it better
And that's just from yesterday...
Michael Jackson's death was clearly a seminal event. And unlike in the 1970s, we all have a remarkable tool that brings the world together -- informed and connected -- over those "I remember when..." moments.
Image from thechorompys