23 Feb Millions Share Their Thoughts on Whitney Houston via Social Media
I found out that Whitney Houston had died via Facebook. I confirmed the story was true after I checked Twitter. By 8 p.m. on February 10, 2012, just an hour after Ms. Houston’s death was first reported (on Twitter), 18 percent of all Twitter posts mentioned “Whitney.”
When someone dies, social media spreads the news like wildfire. On February 18, 2012, 1,500 people physically attended Whitney Houston’s Home Going (her family specifically requested it not be referred to as a funeral) at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ. A staggering 14 million others viewed it on various TV networks and live streams from the Internet.
I happened to be watching it on E! where they created the hashtag #WhitneyTributes to collectively allow viewers to share their thoughts on Twitter in real time. Throughout the entire service I found myself going back and forth between watching the ceremony and reading the tweets of other viewers. I even sent a few tweets myself.
I was humbled at how social media allowed millions of people to celebrate the life as well as mourn the loss of Whitney – arguably one of the greatest voices this generation has ever known. When Alicia Keys sang an emotional, “Send Me An Angel,” thousands of tweets went out to salute the performance.
The legacy of Whitney Houston will live on through her music and her films, and thanks to social media – through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest too.