Michael Jackson in Uyuni, Bolivia

Michael Jackson stencil art in Uyuni Bolivia

Michael Jackson died six years ago today, a half dozen years that has seen his star rise ever higher. His impact and presence are felt in all corners of the planet, even in relatively obscure towns such as Uyuni, the settlement on the southeastern edge of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on the planet.

I spotted this stencil near a central plaza of sorts, not far from the main strip where most visitors who pass through the city of 10,000 stop for a meal or drink on the way to or from their three-day salar trip.

Not only does his music remains in steady rotation on stations across the globe, but Michael Jackson as icon is perhaps even more prevalent. I’ve seen his visage everywhere – on cheap leather wallets, velvet paintings, mini shrines on buses. I’ve seen impersonators perform on the streets of more than twenty national and provincial capitals. And his image scrawled on walls in dozens of countries, many not unlike the relatively remote market town of Uyuni.

Two years ago today, Huffington Post UK reported the social media figures that keep the King of Pop relevant in 2014. Some of the findings:

Michael Jackson is one of the 15 most popular people searched for across the 11 top social media networks, beating brands such as One Direction, Barack Obama, Nike and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He’s the fourth most popular person on Facebook, with 60 million ‘Likes’, approximately ten times the population of his hometown of Gary, Indiana

On China’s own network Renren, he remains the most popular person outside East Asia

Michael Jackson gained half a million Twitter followers last year

780,000 view his YouTube channel daily – he’d have to perform his 1988 Madison Square Garden concert 43 times a day to get the same audience

The video for “Thriller”, which made its debut on December 2, 1983 on MTV, remains his most memorable performance for me. Watching it now it shows its age a bit and appears almost trite. At the time however, when the music video industry was still very much in its infancy, at 14-minute production was nothing more that world-changing. It’s below if you want to take another look. It’s probably been awhile, no?

And for the record: today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 528th straight, was snapped on 28 March 2013 in Uyuni, Bolivia.


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