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It's human nature I suppose to turn to the news when something happens. I'm a sucker for CNN.com for the breaking stories and when the World Trade Center fell, I was glued to NBC all day. But the tides are turning and bloggers and social sites have skin in the game. We no longer have to wait days or hours for a story to develop, we can watch it in real time. Digital Beat talked about the timeline of how the news Michael Jackson's heart attack trickled to the mainstream from 12:21 to 3:24 PST today.
So, when people ask "where were you the day the music died (again)," my answer – along with a number of my friends and colleagues – will be: Twitter. As I watched the trending topic build, I was stunned to see that everyone I follow was in some way commenting on the event, from social media pundits to client CEOs. We all heard it for the first time together and there was a sense of camaraderie as we searched for the "truth." Some shared the TMZ news as proof enough, while others gave real-time accounts from CNN, the LA Times or other "mainstream" outlets.
Even as I write this, TMZ is being interviewed on CNN – the lines have blurred beyond repair. The lesson here for marketers is that consumers are resourceful. If there's news that's worth discovering, they'll work together to find and prove it. As for who has the final say, that's up for debate.
A tribute to Mr. Jackson, the King of Pop:
– Contributed by Gretchen Bender. Follow her @gbender26