Everyone from Apple customers and admirers to other tech luminaries and the President of the United States expressed their condolences in the form of obituaries, blog posts, tweets and status updates on Facebook and Google Plus. Somber homepage tributes went live on Apple.com, Google.com and other major websites, and some publications like Wired and Boing Boing altered their homepages dramatically to pay tribute to Jobs.
In a way, the Web served as sort of a global virtual meeting place for mourners to gather in the wake of the loss of one of the technology world's most celebrated figures. Within a few hours of the news breaking, five different Steve Jobs-related phrases were trending globally on Twitter. Google Plus was awash in links to written tributes, video clips of Jobs and photos taken outside of Apple retail stores. Meanwhile, news sites from all over the world began publishing formal obituaries for Jobs.
Among the most widely-circulated (and worth reading) tributes came from Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg, who was friends with Jobs, and Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, who recounted the exuberant experience of meeting Jobs, as well as the more tense exchanges the two later had when Gizmodo acquired a stolen prototype of the iPhone 4 before its release.
This Week in Tech host Leo Laporte streamed a special, impromptu segment in which he and other technology journalists and commentators shared stories and thoughts related to Steve Jobs, sometimes on the verge of tears.
"Steve Jobs is dead and I learned about it first through a notification on my android from a #Libya colleague on Facebook," tweeted Small World News founder Brian Conley. Another tweet, this one from NPR social media guru Andy Carvin read, "Right now I'm seeing tweets from Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, all united by one thing: #RIPstevejobs."
While most of the reflections on Jobs' life and career were highly positive, sometimes bordering on deifying, the reaction was not without criticism of some of his business practices. Some tactfully pointed out common critiques of Apple, including factory working conditions, their environmental impact and the limited nature of Jobs' philanthropic efforts.
It was was with somewhat less tact, however, that controversial Westboro Baptist Church tweeted about plans to picket Jobs' funeral because he "gave God no glory & taught sin." That tweet, as many were quick to point out, was sent from an iPhone.
More on Steve Jobs From ReadWriteWeb:
- Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
- A Great User Experience: The Web Legacy of Steve Jobs
- What Steve Meant Back Then
- The Steve Jobs Formula and Why It Works