In reacting to Michael Jackson's death, the Internet went through its own five stages of grief.[rssbreak]
Google described search traffic caused by Jackson's death as "volcanic."
Unprepared to deal with the volume of Jackson-related searches, Google initially reacted as if there was an attack on its service. Google News took automated preventive measures, either forcing users to enter a captcha to enter the site or just displaying an error message: "We're sorry, but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application."
It took 25 minutes for Google to compute that the surge of interest in Jackson was legitimate.
Twitter saw traffic double within minutes of the news. Tweets were flying at speeds up to 5,000 per minute at its peak - higher than during the presidential election.
Some other sites, mostly dealing in celebrity gossip, saw as much as a 2,000 per cent increase.
Directly after the Internet delivers news, people pounce on it to share their own experiences relating to the matter at hand. In this case, blogs asked and answered questions about Jackson's best album, most thrilling live performance, culpability in the child molestation charges, eccentricity and so on and so forth.
Two hours into the post-Jackson world, his albums dominated iTunes and Amazon. His 1982 album, Thriller, became the number-one item on both music services.
Blogs covered Jackson's death like a sequin glove. Most of that writing came from the U.S. (21.1 per cent), followed by Germany (8.6 per cent), the UK (7.1 per cent), the Netherlands (5.3 per cent), Brazil and France (4.4 per cent) and Malaysia (3.9 per cent). China and India, two Internet behemoths, curiously did not factor into the global coverage.
Most of the commentators on Jackson, writing real-time news or retrospectives, were between the ages of 21 and 35.
Nearly 25 per cent of blogs on Jackson were written by people under 20 - born the a year after Jackson released Moonwalker.
This is the wait-a-second! moment when the Internet asks itself how it's performing during a crisis.
TMZ, the AOL-owned celebrity site that first broke Jackson's death, was also crushed by the weight of traffic but outperformed the rest of the media world. Jackson died at 2:26 pm, Los Angeles time, and TMZ had the news on its site less than 20 minutes later, at 2:44 pm.
The Los Angeles Times put the news on its site at 2:51 pm, and is credited by most as the media outlet to first properly verify the story.
As the dust settles, the question is whether this was a victory for new media like TMZ over old media like CNN, which was among the last major news outlets to confirm Jackson's death. And can TMZ and other gossip sites be trusted with news like this?
There was also the inevitable profiteering. Scavengers looking to make whatever money they could from the frenzy used a fake YouTube video showing Jackson's death about an hour afterwards, duping users into entering a compromised site that stole information (a Trojan horse, in hacker language). The malware was reportedly launched from somewhere in Spain.
And now, a week after his death, the quirkier side of the Internet is coming forward: the best Jackson lyrics about pets, the top 10 Jackson outfits, the best Jackson moonwalks. And onward to memedom.