Meanwhile Twitter managed to remain online, but it might as well have crashed. According to Twitter analysis tool Twist, at one point yesterday afternoon 22.6% of messages posted to Twitter were related to the King of Pop’s passing as users barraged the site with questions and rumors, and later fond farewells. At one point, nine of the top ten topics on Twitter involved Jackson’s death. The surging volume caused the site to grind to a halt temporarily, and Twitter Search was reportedly running about twenty minutes behind real time. This is the same Twitter the U.S. State Department asked to remain functional last week so protesters in Iran would be able to communicate in the face of violent government crackdowns.
The online fiasco is a fitting testament to Jackson’s legacy. His music reached every corner of the world, he gathered adoring crowds even outside of his own trials, and his name and face were as globally well-known as anyone of his era. He was beyond famous. Michael Jackson: He played the Berlin Wall. He invented Pop. He beat the rap. He crashed Google.