Will Michael Jackson Break the Internet?

"Today's memorial service for Michael Jackson is expected to be the biggest event in the history of the internet," the London Times exclaims. And others agree. The memorial service for the King of Pop, who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50, will be live-streamed on CBS, Fox/Hulu, Facebook/CNN, and Myspace, and it's expected to shatter both online viewership records and servers in the process. Could it really be that much bigger than Obama's inauguration?

You bet, says Mashable, a social media site, which conveniently compiles some of the 2009 inauguration stats:

- 200,000+ status updates through the Facebook integration on CNN.com
- 3,000 people commented on the Facebook CNN feed per minute
- CNN served 13.9 million live video streams globally in about 6 hours
- Don't forget about the millions of other live streams and TV viewers that watched worldwide.

Now, throw all those numbers out the window, because Michael Jackson's memorial is almost certain to utterly overshadow Obama. Not even Obama consumed 30% of Twitter and set traffic records at Yahoo.

Wait, did they just say 30% of Twitter? They did. According to earlier calculations from the Mashable guys, about 22% of "Tweets" contained the term "michael jackson" by late June 25, the day he was declared dead. If you factor in the number of Tweets including the phrase "MJ," "michael," or "king of pop," the number breaks the 30% mark.
In other words, Jackson's death has already become one of the most compelling, fanatic online furors ever, and the plethora of live-stream options really could shatter the 2009 inaugural records.

But enough with the oohing and ahhing over numbers: Will Michael Jackson break the Internet? That is, will the world's biggest live-stream providers be able to handle the massive audience or are we going to witness massive server crashing? I don't know, and neither does anybody else. We'll all have to wait (and watch) and see.