Twitter's Global Group Hug for Whitney Houston

A friend mentioned today that it felt like we experienced a group hug on Twitter the moment the news hit that beloved pop icon Whitney Houston was found dead in Beverly Hills. The singer was in town for the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party last night. The shock sped around the world instantly and we consoled one another on Twitter and Facebook in real-time together. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone and in sharing the experience.

Mashable reports that "Twenty-seven minutes before mainstream media broke the news of Whitney Houston's death on Saturday night, the story was on Twitter, reported by a man who tweeted the news out to his 14 followers." Another example of the power of real-time social media.

I've been spending the morning watching old Whitney Houston videos. Like Michael Jackson, many of her hits were the soundtrack to our lives. So young and beautiful -- so hopeful. And of course, what a voice. Her rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" literally brings tears to my eyes.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a packed pre-Grammy party with my new friend Jimmy Lloyd. We were chatting with folks about how social media is changing the music ecosystem, mostly for the better.

That conversation takes on new meaning now. Today we live... and die... in real-time on social media. We share disasters and glory together. We chime in, hold on to each other, show the way. These moments are the TRUE unscripted reality show of our shared experience.

I am looking forward to the Grammy's broadcast tonight. I'm confident the music world will pay fitting tribute to the Whitney Houston we knew so well. And we'll say goodbye to her and give each other another global group hug on Twitter.

I'll see you there.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit and the co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. Gravity Summit's upcoming event on February 22, 2012 at UCLA will address social media in sports & entertainment. She also teaches executive global marketing and branding and social media marketing for the UCLA Extension and lectures at Anderson Business School. Email her at