The Twitter Death Notice

Tweet, tweet?

The other day, my sixteen year old sister and I were chilling on the couch, smushed next to each other under the same blanket, pretending to spend family time together but really just browsing our respective Facebook accounts. “Oh my god!” she says. “Mmm?” I murmur, assuming a friend posted her new nose piercing or something. “I think Joe Jonas died!” “What, really?”

Good old death rumors; reminds me of the time Perez Hilton told me that Fidel Castro was dead. I immediately posted “r.i.p. castro” to Facebook because I was so excited to break the news to my imaginary friendverse. I refreshed nytimes.com over and over again for vindication, but nothing appeared. It was utterly humiliating, like no one posted on my wall for hours, but I suppose I deserved it for reading Perez Hilton in the first place.

Now, Twitter rumors are another beast. You see #RIP[someone] on your homepage and automatically are like “OMG wtf [someone] must have JUST died because Twitter is real time!” Twitter is great for spreading word quickly, but is not exactly the pall-bearer for journalistic accuracy. Recently, some jealous musician declared that Bon Jovi had died. Apparently he’s angry (yes, angry) that Bon Jovi is concentrating less on music and more on business endeavors lately. He didn’t think his tweet would leave the state of Pennsylvania. Right? Twitter keeps raising it’s interstate tolls, so unfair. Anyway, I’m sure the rumor taught Bon Jovi, um, a lesson.

A couple months ago, there was the “Pray for Adele” throat cancer rumor. A little more believable as she did just have surgery for a hemorrhaged vocal chord.

More recently, when North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il passed on to the place where idiosyncratic dictators go, #RIPKim got a whole mess of people to believe – seriously believe – that Lil Kim had died. Read some ridiculous tweets about it.

And this post is over just as quickly. Here and here are lists of some other notable Twitter hoaxes and false death rumors. #RIPdeath

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