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Did Michael Jackson Break The Internet?

Well, no. But his death certainly slowed it down quite a bit. I noticed yesterday that everything I did on the internet was slower than usual.I  wondered if Michael Jackson's death had anything to do with it. Apparently it did. According to CNN, when Jackson died he damn near took the Internet with him.  Many news and social networking sites were overwhelmed. Michael Dinan at TMCnet makes the case that Jackson's death created problems not just for news and social networking sites, but for ISP's in general.

Another internet-related issue raised was the veracity of stories that appear on the internet. It turns out Michael Jackson really is dead, but Jeff Goldblum and Harrison Ford are not. Rumors of their demise started shortly after Jackson's verified demise. Both the CNN article and this article at PC World deal with the trustworthiness of Internet stories. Some people didn't immediately trust the initial TMZ story, which I  believe is a healthy thing. As it says in the PCWorld article "new media like Twitter, Facebook, and The Huffington Post can only enhance our news experience, but these online resources are no substitute for traditional, hard-nosed reporting."

Indeed. It's good to think of the Internet as a starting point. I remember in the 90's, I  used to find things on the Internet and go to the library and pour through newspapers and government documents to verify them. One that comes to mind is an article I saw on Free Republic about documents related to the Whitewater scandal found in an abandoned car. (It was true...I found a corroborating article on page 15 of the Washington Post.)

I don't have the time to do that anymore. But I do try to look at more than one site, and try to include sites associated with established news organizations. So even if you get everything from the Internet, it's best to take your favorite web site as a starting point, not the final word.

That's one of the lessons to be learned from recent events. The other is that when a celebrity of Jackson's stature dies, the best thing you can do for yourself and the world is to straighten your desk, go for a walk , or anything  besides jumping on the Internet. Facebook can wait.