The Queen gets social
It might just be coincidence, but
observers of the British monarchy have quickly noted that this week’s
announcement of the engagement of Prince William to longtime girlfriend
Kate Middleton came just two weeks after the royal family made its debut
on Facebook. The engagement was sure to attract worldwide attention,
but it didn’t hurt to have a page on the world’s largest social network
to help control the message.
In many ways, the enthusiasm with
which the royal family has embraced social media is a much bigger
surprise than any wedding announcement. It started a couple of years
ago, when The Royal Channel made its debut on YouTube, but this year has since a veritable surge in activity. On July 10, @BritishMonarchy posted its first tweet on Twitter. That was followed two weeks later by a royal Flickr account, and now Facebook.
is suggesting that the 84-year-old Queen Elizabeth is crouched over her
computer each night uploading photos and videos, but knowing how much
she controls the public face of the royal family, it does show an
admirable grasp of modern technology and the power of 24/7 web-based
In particular, the royal Facebook page is a model of how
it should be done. Illustrated with hundreds of photos and dozens of
videos, the page is a living testament to the workload and stamina of
all members of the royal family.
Unfortunately, most of the
royal web activity is of a one-way nature. @BritishMonarchy has almost
80,000 followers on Twitter but follows no-one. That’s right, zero,
which tends to undercut the “social” side of social media. The royal
family does a little better on Facebook, where the 270,000 people that
“Like” the page are at least allowed to comment. (Rude or inappropriate
comments get taken down very quickly!)
It’s easy to forget that
less than two years ago we were debating whether social networks like
Facebook and Twitter were just passing fads, the latest craze of high
school students and people with too much time on their hands. Now, with
the active involvement of the British monarchy, they have surely
received the ultimate seal of approval!