White Gloves & Thrown Elections: Michael Jackson vs. Iran

We saw how media attention drove Twitter’s share of searchers on the Iran Election to record heights two weeks ago. A barrage of mainstream media and blogosphere chatter swarmed the digerati’s collective consciousness, fusing their favorite techno-democratic phenom with Iranian political discontent.

Then the white glove dropped. MJ’s passing sent a megaton shock through the worldwide pop firmament of Planet Earth, rousing memories of Thriller from billions, even the Haters.

The web was not spared. Visitors shattered records Yahoo! News. Tweets swarmed across Twitter. Video streams flooded the online channels CNN and MTV. And updates exploded at Facebook. As CNN reported, "Jackson dies, almost takes Internet with him.

Michael told the Iran Election to Beat It. Over 24 times more searchers hit top search engines, news sites like CNN and the New York Times and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter on Jackson’s death than on the Iranian election shenanigans.

Where did MJ searchers go? Google. The King of Pop gave back the King of Search its crown.

But the royal succession was not without a few princely hiccups. Twitter disabled the search box and Trending Topics sidebar on profile pages for 4 hours following the "avalanche" of tweets after MJ’s death. And Google blocked MJ searches for 25 minutes, mistaking the incoming torrent as an internationally coordinated cyber-attack of zombie bots.

Fans surged to music, video and retail sites to rekindle memories of his hit songs and music videos to bid farewell to the King of Pop. Yahoo! Music led the way with 45% share of visitors, and YouTube delivered a respectable 23% share.

Meanwhile Michael was still shattering music sales records mors immatura.