For those who grew up, made out, and stayed in to Whitney Houston's music her death was that peculiar mixture of shocking and inevitable.
As some in L.A. chose to continue partying, others used their chosen online means to express their dismay. Twitter, often the medium for stars to express themselves directly to their fans, offered a simple picture of collective feelings.
This morning, while the cause of her death remains unknown, the feelings she has left behind are clear. Mariah Carey, for example, took to Twitter to say: "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston."
But it was ordinary fans who showed how broad their thoughts were by creating disparate Twitter trends, many of which immediately rose to the site's Top 10 list.
This morning, 8 out of the top 10 Twitter trends in San Francisco are Houston-themed--everything from "Wanna Dance With Somebody" to "Will Always Love You." The other items in the top 10 are the promoted hashtag "#MusicWasBestWhen," which some would also relate to Houston, and the hardy perennial #thingsthatpissmeoffingeneral.
In New York, the picture is similar, other than the appearance of #thingsthatpissmeoffingeneral and #UKnowTheSexIsGoodWhen."
The U.S as a whole is also expressing itself through Houston themes, although some might wonder why it might be that #BlackBoyProblems makes it into the top 5 Twitter trends--it is very high in places such as New Haven and Dallas/Fort Worth.
The world, however, seems a little more muted in its tributes. Only two Houston themes appear at the time of writing: R.I.P.Whitney Houston and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. The rest seems to comprise, other than #thingsthatpissmeoffingeneral, such odd choices as "Miley Can Tame The Grammys," which seems especially gauche.
Twitter's Jack Dorsey declared in Germany this week that Twitter is the place to go to see "what's going on."
In that case, what is going on is that many are offering outpourings of grief. One of the most elegant was offered by university professor and former Democratic strategist Donna Brazile: "May Jesus love, Luther Vandross greet, Lou Rawls comfort, Michael Jackson dance, Etta James welcome, and Ray Charles see Whitney ASAP."