Last Friday, comedian Michael Legge proved just how powerful social media can be when he announced the death of Gregg Jevin.
Michael announced to his 10,000 followers on Twitter that ‘Gregg Jevin, a man I just made up, has died’. His followers then retweeted this and soon #RIPGreggJevin was trending.
The (completely made-up) death of (the unreal) Gregg Jevin continued to spread when commented upon by several well-known comedians. Thousands more commented on the issue, even making up stories about the fictional character. It wasn’t just celebrities that got involved, businesses and organisations such as the BBC, Greggs, Blockbusters and Waterstones joined in too.
The Twitter community has since released hundreds of Gregg Jevin jokes and Michael Legge has created a blog post with the fictional characters name that outlines the steps leading up to his tweet and thereafter.
The hype around this fake death resulted in a Gregg Jevin Twitter account being created and t-shirts in honour of Gregg Jevin being made – one saying ‘rest easy, big guy’.
But was this made up death really all for fun? In recent weeks many celebrities have been ‘killed off’ in the world of Twitter, such as Chris Brown and Madonna, amongst others.
Of course, these deaths are completely made up yet they still trend. What does it say about social media when something that is not true can still spread globally within minutes?
Four days later, although no longer trending, jokes about Gregg are still rolling in. What a stir one simple tweet can cause.