How Whitney Houston Brought Out The Good In Twitter

Whitney Houston Performance in New York City

If you listened to pop music in the 80s and 90s, you couldn’t escape the dramatic voice of Whitney Houston. Heck, even if you were *not* a pop music lover, it was hard not to hear her renditions of “The Greatest Love of All” or “I Will Always Love You” during Houston’s long stretch as America’s queen of pop.

The lyrics of her songs were often positive in nature and her voice brought these words to even more motivational heights. This vibe of love and kindness, spread worldwide through her songs, was soon obscured in later decades,  however, when her personal life got more airplay than her songs. It was only upon hearing of Houston’s passing that the world was reminded again of the gifts she gave to so many during the early stretch of her career.

Twitter brought the global community together as the news broke of her death. Those with Twitter accounts shared sweet recollections of Houston’s music, voice, and presence. I spent most of last night listening to and retweeting these stories.

To get a sense of who was talking about Whitney, I first looked at Twitter’s trending topics for the United States — she dominated discussions here. Then I wondered: Were my former ESL students in Tokyo and Brazil talking about the Grammy Award Winner? Indeed they were, as I soon discovered.

Whitney Houston Trending Topics USA Brazil and Tokyo

Trending Topics in USA, Brazil, and Tokyo (Japan)

I’m a huge 80’s music fan, so I checked to see what some of my favorite artists of that time were tweeting about Whitney. Suzanne Vega and Curt Smith tweeted about their personal connections to her (who knew that Whit was a big Tears for Fears fan?). Boy George, always the DJ, even made a mini-playlist in honor of her ironically life-affirming songs.

Boy George's Video Playlist to Honor Whitney Houston

Boy George's Tribute to Whitney Houston

So the international community was talking and top musicians from my childhood were at Twitter’s “fireside chat” telling stories. What would come from all this talking? The New York Daily News, typically my third choice for a read when in NYC, came up with a wonderful idea to honor the diva who grew up in nearby Newark, New Jersey. Editors there asked tweeters to contribute photos to their Whitney Houston Pinterest board.

There were also tweets that reminded others of the dangers of drug addiction, a disease that Whitney fought for the latter part of her 48 years.  The ones that touched me most were from blogger Cecily Kellogg, my rescue animal compatriot MadonnaMonster, and movie review icon Roger Ebert.

Drug addiction breaks my heart, especially when it takes someone so talented so early. (Let’s face it — drugs took Whitney well before yesterday.) But at least thanks to Twitter, for a brief while, fans were able to gather to remember the good of this legendary singer.

Photo credit: Flickr/asterix611


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