During the coverage of Michael Jackson’s death last week by the mainstream and “new” media and around the blogosphere (you know, I really don’t like that word), there were more than a few instances where people said “I will always remember where I was when I heard the news of Michael Jackson’s passing.”
For me personally, it was not a “where were you when…” moment. I always thought those should be reserved for, well, more historical moments than the passing of an entertainer, no matter how significant. But then again, who am I to say what should be important to you?
The events in my lifetime that I would consider my “where were you when…” moments include President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 (five years old, home from school, adults all in shock, all of us glued to television or radio), astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969 (another glued to the television moment), the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 (working midnights, in a bar after work that morning, watching the news, then dead silence and someone dropped a glass and it seemed to shatter forever) and 9-11-2001. There are many other historical or personally significant moments that occurred between 1960 and now, but those are the few I consider most significant.
There were also a number of comparisons between Elvis Presley’s death and Michael Jackson’s death. August 1977 was the summer after my freshman year in college. That is a long time ago, and I don’t really consider it a “where were you when…” moment, but I do remember it well enough to marvel at how the internet and social media has really changed how many of us get our news.
I first heard of Elvis’ death in the car on the radio, and got more of the story later on television and from the newspaper. I first heard of Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter, and maybe it was just the old people like me who were also tweeting that we were waiting to hear it confirmed by some “real” media, which apparently means someone other than TMZ. I was leaving work, so my “real” media confirmation came from the CBS affiliate radio station WBBM rather than any of the usual online sources.
Hmmmm. So maybe things haven’t changed as much as I thought. But it is still fascinating how many of us got our initial report on Twitter, and went to other online sources first to get more information. We did turn on the television at work, but most of our hunt for news was done online.
(NaBloPoMo | June ’09: 28 of 30 | 75% Challenge: 155 of 274)