RIP MJ: The world mourns the death of Michael Jackson on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Digg and the list goes on…


Photo credit to Sërch on

Never before have people around the world, across continents and nations, come together in such a special way to mourn the death of someone who has left behind music, entertainment and cultural legacies of such magnitude. The late and great Michael Jackson has transformed the way music, dance and videos are made, and crossed racial and cultural boundaries just by being himself. We simply can’t find another contemporary talent that matches his depth and breadth of musicality and charisma.

So why is our mourning special? What role does social media play in all this? #socialmedia made it possible for users around the world to replicate what Michael was able to do “virtually” – cross racial, cultural and geographical boundaries – and share notes of love, grief and encouragement with one another. Over a million tweets occurred over the last 24 hours, thousands of Digg and Facebook postings, and couple hundreds of songs and videos have been written by fans and artists around the world in remembrance of him. This spirit of collaborative condolences is the first of its kind in 2009, and the very first in such a global fashion. Gosh, I really think we’ve come to a crossroad now with information technology. I know the term “information technology” or “IT” might sound a bit old-fashioned for some, especially for the Gen-Yers and millenials, but I think social media tools have indeed taken IT to a brand new page in human civilization now where people don’t have to speak the same language to discover, understand, reflect, empathize and remember the impact of an issue or a person. Brand images and messages can be formed by words (and with the aid of pictures, videos and audio) in minutes, even seconds. People are united more cognitively and subliminally than they think, thanks to Twitter, Facebook and every other social buzz tools available in the digital space.

So what’s the big deal, why are we even reflecting on this matter? Because it is important. I know some folks in my professional and social circles still haven’t bought into the idea of #socialmedia nor are they appreciative of the power of #socialmedia and simply dismiss them as “fads” and “widgets”. Let’s face it, social media tools are NOT going away, period. Many more online tools will follow suit, join ranks, play the social game and be forgotten, but the good ones, the game-changing ones that help make our communication faster, more streamlined and optimized will stay, and probably for a very long time. I just hope me and my co-blogger won’t have to write another blog to address the inevitability and inimitability of social media power. Instead, let’s talk about the game-changers, strategy, usage and success stories!

Last but not least, my favorite MJ song and MTV of all times – We Are the World (1985)

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