Killing celebrities via Twitter

Posted by David Konow

No, Paul McCartney and Jon Bon Jovi are not dead, they’re both alive and well, but somebody’s trying to kill them off in cyberspace via Twitter.

As any Beatle fan knows, there were rumors long ago that Paul had died, and rumors again were spread about his alleged demise through Twitter, but as Mark Twain once wrote, those rumors have been greatly exaggerated.

Killing celebrities via TwitterAs we’ve seen with the false report that Jon Bon Jovi died, urban legends and rumors can travel faster than ever with today’s technology.

As soon as the rumors hit, Jon fought back with modern technology, tweeting often to reassure everyone he’s alive and well.
 
Also oddly enough, there was confusion about the death of dictator Kim Jong-il and like the game telephone, it turned into a rumor that Lil’ Kim passed away.

Other fake celebrity death stories included Jeff Goldblum allegedly dying the same day as Michael Jackson (like the  saying goes, death often comes in threes, even fake deaths), Lindsay Lohan (not a hard one to make up that people would believe), Will Smith, Will Farrell, even Frank Sinatra was a victim of it once, according to the L.A. Times.
 
And as would be expected, rumors like this often swirled around rock bands. There were constant rumors that members of Guns ‘N Roses died, and before Jim Morrison finally did kick the bucket, there were rumors he died, then there were rumors he was still alive, like Elvis, Kurt Cobain, and Andy Kaufman.
 
Back when I was a kid, there were two urban death legends like this that were completely untrue, but everyone knew them. The first was the kid Little Mikey on the TV commercial for Life cereal, and the story went his stomach exploded from carbonation after he mixed pop rocks and Coca Cola.
 
The kid who played Little Mikey, John Gilchrist, is reportedly alive and well today. The other was Alfonso Ribeiro, who was in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson and starred on Silver Spoons with Ricky Schroder, died doing the head spin break dance move, which I hope was debunked long before he made it to Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
 
It’s amazing how fast these stories spread before the internet or even fax machines, and often stories like this swirl around celebrities, as do conspiracy theories about their deaths if they do in fact die. As Bon Jovi’s did with Twitter, modern technology can debunk these stories, and make them go away just as quickly as they spread.