Friday, June 26, 2009

Internet Traffic and Michael Jackson

When I wrote my blog entry yesterday, I found myself unable to access Michael Jackson's wikipedia entry. Here is an interesting article on internet traffic that resulted from first rumors and then reports of Jackson's death. Part of me is still weirded out by the whole thing---it's hard to think of him as gone---though the more analytical part of me is seeing yesterday and today as something that reflects the modern era more than most days.

As interesting as the article is, it's also somewhat self-serving with respect to what it says about modern versus traditional news sources: "The need of the professional media to be first with the news -- many did for a short time report the Goldblum rumor as fact -- adds further veracity. And, of course, the whole process is speeded up by the Web." Yeah, and all bloggers live with their mothers and write their material from their room in the basement.

Update: Mariano Beguerisse Díaz sent me the following article about google searches related to Jackson's death. As he reminds me, from a technical standpoint, such dynamics result from what is known as an "exogenous shock" (as opposed to endogenous dynamics that would refer, e.g., to normal search traffic patterns).

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