Heath Ledger
Originally uploaded by Howie_Berlin

This morning I was shocked to see the announcement that Heath Ledger is dead. I used to like seeing photos of Heath taking his kids for a walk or out to the shops. I am sure this will be a devastating time for his family and friends.

The fact that I found this out on Twitter marks another interesting twist in the relationship between digitial/web 2.0 media and the mainstream media. As soon as I saw the message from Alisa Leonard, the first thing I did was search for another report. I searched on Google. Nothing. Then I went to the Sydney Morning Herald website — and found this. Five minutes later and the story was all over Google News. It appears that despite our wide adoption of "new" media, we rely on the authority of the "old".

As news breaks, the ripple effect flows from a single point across the network of influencers, listeners, contacts and family. It starts with an individual, fans out through the web across social networks and then transforms into individual messages taken in and absorbed by people thousands of kilometres apart. But not all messages do this. Only those that hit us emotionally … good news, bad news and acts of outrage.

But this is one piece of news that I am sad to hear. And one I am sorry to find out, is true.