Jackson was a great musician and I enjoyed much of his music, but I wasn't a huge fan. I have no serious ties to him. I did feel for him and as I wrote in an earlier post I think he was treated unfairly, but I have no other stake in his death. But watching his memorial seemed like the right thing to do, and the rest of my office seemed to agree, though some were making ridiculous comments and I was glad I had headphones. I was actually impressed and moved by the ceremony. It was respectful and nicely done and reminded the world that Michael Jackson cared for people and did amazing things with his time and money.
I watched it through the CNN live feed with Facebook scrolling down the side, which I have to say was unpleasantly fascinating. The live feed constantly updates statuses from people on Facebook who are watching. This provided a mixture of responses. Many announced every time they broke into tears, others asked stupid questions or made snide comments or jokes, but most had one thing in common: poor spelling and improper grammar.
This communal watching experience via the internet is something I'm undecided about (I also did it for Obama's inauguration). It feels very disconnected yet connected all the same, which is the great puzzle of the internet: are we getting closer or farther apart? In many ways I felt more connected to the experience by watching it online than watching it alone on TV, but at times it made the experience less genuine because everyone was trying to make their point and commentary on the event, most of which seemed invalid or jokey. Maybe I don't need or want to read everything everyone is thinking.
As the memorial continued I also checked Twitter (my new obsession), which of course was overloaded with too many tweets. It seems if nothing else Jackson has proved that he is not only the king of pop but also the king of clogging up the internet.
-Stephen (Doing My Part)