Tell Me Your Sorrows

Last Thursday, the beloved Dutch singer Andre Hazes died at 53, news that came out on the radio at 11.45 in the morning. News during office hours results in an immediate communications gulf and it is interesting to see which role the different platforms play.

Of course, his website,, reported high traffic (11,000 visitors at noon vs. 150 on a normal day), as did websites like, where visitors can leave messages: More than 50,000 people have left wishes so far.

But the very first thing people do is spread the news to each other: Mobile phone calls were up 10 percent, according to telecom operator KPN. And at noon, SMS (text messaging) traffic doubled. That’s peer-to-peer news distribution taking over from the mass media, making sure that news of this kind is known to all.

If news organizations start to understand the strength of these networks, perhaps they will start to develop new types of news alerts. Example: “Here is a message to forward, a picture, and part of a Hazes song attached.”

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