GPK up there on Google search

Keshav P. Koirala & Amish Raj Mulmi

Girija Prasad Koirala’s death shook cyberspace as well, with Nepali news sites witnessing unprecedented traffic from visitors across the world. ‘Girija Prasad Koirala’ ranked second in the search-giant Google’s most searched term on Saturday, the day Koirala passed away.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with Koirala’s death from Saturday onwards, with new groups and tweets arising every second.

Following news of Koirala’s critical health condition and subsequent death on Saturday, Nepali news websites were flooded with visitors, with witnessing more than 200 percent rise in traffic. Some other news portals were down for hours as they failed to cope with the heavy traffic.

Bibek Poudel, a researcher at Banepa-based Open Technology Resource Centre (OTRC),  a joint initiative of Nepal government and IBM, said, “Google Trends showed that Koirala’s full name was searched thousands of times in the US. This accounted for the ‘top search’ status of the name at around 2 p.m. NST (on Saturday).” Poudel, an Internet media researcher, also ascribed the heavy Internet traffic to Koirala’s “political clout”.

The ‘R.I.P. Girija Prasad Koirala’ page on Facebook already had 1,520 fans by Sunday evening, while Twitter saw a plethora of posts on Koirala’s demise. Twitter user amisck posted, “Nepal has 2 bear a gr8 loss frm d demise of National hero Girija Pd. Koirala”, while another user ButterflySmi kept it short: “R.I.P. Girija Prasad Koirala”. R.I.P. stands for rest in peace.

Facebook groups mourning his death quickly mushroomed, with at least 34 groups already there by Sunday evening. One group was titled, ‘We lost a legend. May Girija Pd. Koirala’s SOUL rest in peace’, while another group was called, ‘U are the best Prime Minister in the world…love you Girija Prasad Koirala’. Ironically, there was only one member in the group — ‘Nepal and Nepali Congress will never be same without Girija Prasad Koirala’.

On the ‘R.I.P. Girija’ page, Facebook user Dharani Adhikari called him “One of the greatest politicians of the world!!!” and wished for all the parties to be “united to work together to overcome this great loss!!!”

However, there were a few Facebook groups that looked to the future. One such group was ‘Let’s search a mastermind for the replacement of Girija’, which already had 25 fans by Sunday evening. (Source: The Kathmandu Post, March 22, 2010)

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