Michael Jackson Dies, Kills Internet
Not sure this is BREAKING NEWS, as CNN does, but it’s amusing nonetheless:
The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of the Internet with him, as the ripples caused by the news of his death swept around the globe.
“Between approximately 2:40 p.m. PDT and 3:15 p.m. PDT today, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson,” a Google spokesman told CNET, which also reported that Google News users complained that the service was inaccessible for a time. At its peak, Google Trends rated the Jackson story as “volcanic.”
As sites fell, users raced to other sites: TechCrunch reported that TMZ, which broke the story, had several outages; users then switched to Perez Hilton’s blog, which also struggled to deal with the requests it received.
CNN reported a fivefold rise in traffic and visitors in just over an hour, receiving 20 million page views in the hour the story broke.
Twitter crashed as users saw multiple “fail whales” — the illustrations the site uses as error messages — user FoieGrasie posting, “Irony: The protesters in Iran using twitter as com are unable to get online because of all the posts of ‘Michael Jackson RIP.’ Well done.” The site’s status blog said that Twitter had had to temporarily disable its search results, saved searches and trend topics.
Wikipedia saw a flurry of activity, with close to 500 edits made to Jackson’s entry in less than 24 hours. CNET reported that by 3:15pm PDT, Wikipedia seemed to be “temporarily overloaded.”
And so forth and so on. It’s amazing that even robust servers can go down with too many simultaneous queries. One would think that the advent of cloud technologies and redundancies would have ended that by this stage in the Internet’s maturation. Apparently not.