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Pavarotti – How the Internet Responds

7 September 2007 by Mother Superior

This week has seen the death of a man who reached the absolute pinnacle of his career. Probably the world’s favourite operatic tenor. The internet has allowed the public to share their feelings in a way that fans of Caruso would never have been able to when he passed away in 1921.

Observing my own web browsing on Pavarotti in the last couple of days, I’ve noticed that I’ve been much more interested in videos put online by members of the public or skimming blog posts than I have reading articles from traditional newspapers or organisations. Perhaps I’m hoping to grasp some tiny individual insights from people who really really cared rather than biography pieces that do not seem enough for such a moment.

Or maybe it’s because a blog search actually brings up more relevance on this topic than a normal Google search. The first page ranks only six entries that link to an up-to-date story acknowledging Pavarotti’s death. Two are his official website, two are YouTube videos, one is Wikipedia and the other admittedly is a link to news stories on the death.

It’s at the side of this first page in the sponsored links that we see the likes of The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times, The Times and The Sun as they bid to win readers on the issue. But this just appears to widen the divide.

The ability to share with a community and unite in a collected admiration of a talent is not best achieved through recognised official bodies anymore. Pavarotti dominates the Viral Video Charts today because we collectively put him there. We feel a part of a community because we see the thousands of links to these videos or read the many comments left on blogs.

Maybe this is why The Sun can’t seem to make up its mind whether to keep paying for rank in the sponsored list. Or maybe they just feel out of depth in the company of broadsheets and real people?