advertisement
advertisement

Is Michael Jackson’s Funeral Dangerous For the Web?

In case you’re living in a lead-lined, radio wave-proof, soundproofed bunker, it’s Michael Jackson’s funeral today. But given that the event of his death nearly crashed the Web, will his funeral create even more problems online?

In case you’re living in a lead-lined, radio wave-proof, soundproofed bunker, it’s Michael Jackson’s funeral today. But given that the event of his death nearly crashed the Web, will his funeral create even more problems online?

advertisement
advertisement
Michael Jackson

Okay, so “crashed the Web” is an exaggeration, but remember that the mighty Google and even the feisty news-breaking lifecasting Twitter took a direct hit as people raced online in those early moments when the news of his death broke, and then they kept searching for information and chattering about it all the next day. All of those queries were merely simple text searches, 140-character Tweets or standard Web pages–typical low-bandwidth stuff.

But given that just 11,000 people are allowed to attend MJ’s funeral in person, millions of fans will be trying to catch it on TV. Or on the web. And that might just cause a problem: Streaming video is decidedly not low-bandwidth stuff. And there’s a lot of places you can catch the thing online. Hulu’s got a feed, CNN and Facebook have teamed up, then there’s ABC News, MySpace, TV.com, MSN inMusic, Livestream, Justin.TV and many others.
You can bet these feeds will attract a global audience of millions of MJ fans, and the merely curious–after all, it’s practically guaranteed to be a spectacle. Each viewer will be pulling data from the source through their ISP from the source sites, with the data pouring through the various servers and gateways that make up the net.

It’s a pretty safe bet that some of the source Web sites will go down, unless they’ve covered their expected traffic surge with extra hardware. It’s also possible that extremely technical bits of the internet’s computing infrastructure may go “ping” under the peak loads too.

And that’ll affect lots of people who are trying to use the web for–horror of horrors–non Michael Jackson-related stuff.
Add in the fact that people will again be hitting the news sites for info. Then mix in the news that there are a bunch of malicious Web sites claiming to have the funeral feed, possibly in the hope that they can do bad things to your computer or merely to attract incautious web surfers to their adverts. And remember the fact that there seems to be not much else in the way of news on the Internets today…and you’ve gotta wonder: Is the King of Pop’s funeral bad for the Internet?

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

More