While the Royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton will be one of the largest viewed television events, there will be no live coverage on Social Media. That is because at the request of the Royal Family, police and security have installed signal-blocking technology, to nix cell phone use.
They hoped that by nixing phones and tweeting, it would cut down on news photos and videos featuring cellphone-toting guests, distracting ring tones and info about the wedding getting out ahead of the ceremony. But isn’t that what social media is all about? Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. By the use of signal-blocking technology, the Royal Family is saying that old school news and public image (pictures) is more important than allowing their guest and the billions of people around the world to make the event truly interactive.
While it is surely unthinkable that any guest at the great occasion would commit the ultimate faux pas by leaving their phone switched on, officials wanted to be certain that there are no embarrassing mishaps. It was feared that with 1,900 people inside the Abbey, including royals, celebrities, and members of the general public, there would be a risk of guests using their phones to tweet and post information from the Abbey ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials. While I am sure many of the guests including, Sir Elton John, Guy Ritchie, and the Beckhams, will be using their cell phones anyways, if at least capture a few snapshots to preserve the memories. So the argument that the Royal Family did not want images of people taking pictures is weak.
So far, it doesn’t seem to be working. Here is a scene in the chapel just before the ceremony. Well at least blocking social media posting will prevent anyone from being fired during the event; this cannot be said of the Buckingham Palace guard who was relieved of his royal wedding duties after calling the bride-to-be a “stuck up cow” and “posh bitch” on Facebook.
While I am sure some guests are upset by this, it really is only the least of their worries. Guests had been discreetly advised by Buckingham Palace before the event that, with no toilet facilities available for their use, they should take care of “business” before they arrive. For some wedding guests that means no use of the bathroom for more than 4 hrs since they have arrived up to two hours before the ceremony began.
The inability to tweet , post and comment via social media during the actual event doesn’t mean the web is silent, obviously — in fact, talk of the Royal Wedding is accelerating rapidly on Facebook and Twitter. With a times 5 of the 10 trending topics worldwide being connected to the wedding (Royal wedding, William & Kate, Westminster Abbey, Camilla, Buckingham Palace). In reality Royal Wedding, discussions are taking over social media. According to London-based independent search marketing specialist and technology firm Greenlight, new research shows that in the past seven days coming up to the nuptials, the royal wedding was getting one new mention every 10 seconds.
With an official website, Facebook and Flickr pages, Twitter account and YouTube channel, the Royal Family has used social media to its advantage in publicizing the much-hyped wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Announcing their engagement through the Twitter account of the Prince of Wales, the royal couple encouraged social media to become part of the brouhaha that is the royal wedding, just not at the actual event. While the Royal wedding between William and Kate will go down as probably one of the biggest events of the year, and the most memorable event since the wedding of Charles and Diana, the Royal Family had a huge opportunity to embrace the times and allow this wedding to be a true social media event as well.