By now, you've probably all heard the good news: Jon Bon Jovi is alive, well and fresh off a performance last night at a benefit concert in New Jersey.
And yet "jon bon jovi dead" is still, at press time, the No. 1 search on Google!
We know the Internet can fan a rumor like wildfire, and there's enough to deal with when otherwise legit websites get a story wrong—but seriously, how does a random blogger end up at the center of the biggest story of the day by posting a completely bogus report?
Yesterday afternoon, a vigilant Internet user noticed that dailynewbloginternational had posted a story suspiciously titled, "International Rockstar Legend Jon Bon Jovi dead again at 49."
In addition to the awesome spelling of "rock star," what is "dead again" supposed to mean? Additionally, this so-called news site was set up via Wordpress, the anybody-can-have-a-blog service.
Regardless, 13 people left comments, only one of them reading "yeah right." (Yes, the other 12 were all of the shocked, RIP variety.)
• Seemingly moments later, #bonjovidead was trending off the charts.
Only a few moments after that, Bon Jovi, his rep and his family were bombarded with calls, texts and emails, and the story quickly revealed itself to be not comfirmable. But for awhile, no one could save him, the damage was done...
"Unbelievable...RIP JBJ," tweeted real, live celebrity Malin Akerman. "Cheers to many fond memories thanks to you. You will be greatly missed. via ." (Yup, she linked to the bogus blog and everything.)
After thousands of more tweets in that vein, the hash-tag reporting ultimately turned into #bonjovideathhoax.
Two hours later, Akerman added, "My bad people... Stupidly I believed the first thing I read without double checking. Viva JBJ!!! Thank God!!!" (She gets adorable points in our book for not deleting her first tweet.)
Piers Morgan helpfully tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday: "BREAKING NEWS: Jon Bon Jovi is alive."
At around the same time Morgan was grabbing this story by the balls, Bon Jovi posted a photo of himself on Facebook holding a sign he had hand-marked "Dec 19 2011," reading, "Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey."
Twitter blew up with disappointed hard-rock fans making poor-taste jokes about Bon Jovi having already been dead to them for the last 20 years and with folks talking about hilarious and classy the artist's adorable Facebook post was.
At 3:47 p.m. yesterday, the Los Angeles Times' L.A. Now blog reported that paper staffers were looking into comments that the "dailynewbloginternational" had lifted some of its verbiage from the Times' 2009 story reporting the very real death of Michael Jackson. Of course, the paper asserted, the Times was not at all involved with the fake story.
After his Facebook resurrection, Bon Jovi hit the stage at the Hope Concert, benefiting the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank.
He sang covers, hits like the newly ironic "Wanted Dead or Alive" and Christmas tunes—and the show raised a very life-affirming $175,000.
Today, outlets like the Associated Press, Reuters and CNN were still reporting on the Bon Jovi hoax—and some were jumping aboard the trending bandwagon.
"Is Jon Bon Jovi Dead? No. But Here are 2 Top 2012 Investments," is the actual title of a Forbes.com article that posted today.
And that, friends, is how errant blogs and Twitter go about the killing—and reviving—of celebrities.