This is the first British royal wedding (or large state event) of the Internet age, it is generating one mention every 10 seconds online and will be streamed live to an estimated audience of several hundred million viewers. TV viewing figures are expected to be in the region of 2 Billion world-wide!
Internet users can even sign a virtual book of congratulations for Friday’s marriage and on the websites internet forum alone, there have been almost 113,000 posts on the subject of the wedding.
For the cynics out there internet evidence suggests “fans” of the wedding outweigh opponents by a ratio of six to one.
I will be watching on TV at my mothers in Wiltshire – it is pure chance that we will be there on the day of the wedding, but my mother will enjoy comparing this wedding to the one in 1973 that she was lucky enough to be invited to. It will be a painful experience for me and my wife!
The biggest difference 30 years on is the Internet – from online news sites to social media – meaning that by comparison, this wedding truly is a very public affair. When Charles and Diana tied the knot in 1981, the Internet was in its infancy, even if Queen Elizabeth II had become the first monarch to send an email five years earlier on a visit to a British military research centre.
However, William and Kate’s engagement was first announced on microblogging site Twitter in November, although it was accompanied by an old-fashioned press release. And palace officials have said the wedding will be streamed live on YouTube, the first such coverage of a royal event. As well as the four hours of Internet coverage on the Royal Channel (www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel) on Friday, there will also be a live multimedia blog put together by royal officials.
Twitter is likely to be the biggest social media site for the wedding – it will be interesting to see if it crashes under the pressure. Also in true twitter tradition there are some spoof sites up – the Twitter feed @William_HRH, a gentle spoof of the second-in-line to the throne is worth a look!