July 18, 2009

Michael Jackson: So 10 days ago.

Michael Jackson, the self-anointed king of pop, was one of the biggest things on the Web. Peter Kafka on All Things Digital now notes that in Web Video Viewers Forget About Michael Jackson, at least the YouTube ones.

Kafka used the video views tracker on TubeMogul illustrate his argument. TubeMogul's analytics package brings statistics to both publishers and gawkers on 15 top video sharing sites; some services are free for non-commercial users.

Others like Silicon Alley Insider pronounced the Jackson meme dead on July 3. Jackson didn't even show up in the top 50 of Google Hot Trends of July 17. Here's Google's average worldwide traffic of "michael jackson" in the last 30 days:

Of course the major networks milked the story until fatigue set in, which spawned comments like This Just In: Michael Jackson, Still Dead. But another observed that Jackson’s demise allowed us "to interact with other people; to turn the news, to use the current jargon, into a ‘social object’." It's unfortunate for 800-1000 million who are slowly dying of hunger that they are social problem not a ‘social object’!

For a related perspective see the recent AEP post Meme tracking and the News Cycle.

Update: for a more serious look at the phenomena see The Man in the Mirror by Chris Hedges on Truthdig.

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