Posted by: Dana Nicholson | May 1, 2011

Social Media: The Royal Treatment

Starting at 1 am PDT coverage of the Royal Wedding began, and did not end until after 5 am.  Over 22.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the ultimate modern day fairytale of William and Kate, and that was just in the United States.  The use of social media connected people all over the world to talk about the wedding.  At some point in the coverage  one of the correspondents said that every trending topic on Twitter was related to the Royal Wedding.  More than 911,000 tweets related to the Royal Wedding occurred in 30 days.   According to an article by USA Today 65 percent of all social media related to the wedding has come from the U.S.  By the time the ceremony was over, there were more than 1.7 total tweets counted related to the wedding.  I know I definitely contributed to that number in some small way.

For pretty much two full days it seemed that almost every media outlet was buzzing with news about William and Kate.   It is crazy to think that with all the people in the world so many of them were not only watching the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but that they were talking about it.  Prior to the wedding Twitter headquarters tweted this picture of how they are preparing for the wedding, and Twitter believed they could handle the wedding overload.  Well, Twitter was mistaken.  With all the millions of people tweeting about the wedding the site was on overload for a little bit.  That just goes to show how many people are connected through social media sites like Twitter. People separated by more than 3,000 miles can all talk about the wedding like they were guests.  It makes the world feel so small and personal, especially when we all share in such a personal event like a wedding.

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Responses

  1. The Royal Wedding coverage was unparalleled. The event captured so many people, and chatter about the wedding seemed to find me on every social networking site possible. From iTunes apps, podcasts, YouTube channels and tweets; to Facebook statuses and an official countdown on the E! Network, I was connected to a global event that I had no stake in. It got me thinking, what’s the point? Is there a need to propel a cyber discussion about something that we are all so unassociated with?

    This wedding really tested the frontiers of social media use. There was no product being sold, nor was there an idea being marketed, it was an event that captured an audience. The union comes at a time when social media capabilities are at an all time high and participating in a global discussion seems to make us feel important. Influential voices within online communities may impact public opinion of “followers” or “friends” and so on. What I am struggling to analyze is the purpose of such discussion. Are we infatuated with the wedding because of its significance, or its prominence in mainstream media? Does this foreign affair deserve such a precedence in domestic media when much more devastating events are occurring (deadly hurricanes and tornadoes in the south, government budgeting, etc.)? There were even rumors on Twitter saying that the website would require another server for the special day in order to accommodate for the volume of royal wedding tweets. These statistics that you have presented make me realize the sheer magnitude of the social media audience as well as required me to question the implications of such discussion. I don’t want to simply play into the hype about the royal wedding because it is popular, but the wedding’s coverage made it impossible to avoid. The amount of channels targeted staked its importance in American news media, but as consumers we should examine why that is and what the news is really doing for us.


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