There are certain events that will only occur once in a lifetime — Halley’s Comet or 11:11 on 11/11/11, for example. April 29, 2011 represented one of these monumental events, as Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton were married in London’s historic Westminster Abbey.
In the days leading up to the wedding, a New York Times/CBS News poll revealed that only six percent of Americans had been following news about the wedding closely. While this poll might reflect a general apathetic attitude toward the Royal Wedding, it is not aligned with the attention it has received in media, particularly among social media.
Check out this infographic from Mashable, illustrating that the most chatter about the Royal Wedding has actually come from the U.S. and not the U.K. The media hype began immediately after William and Kate’s engagement announcement, and continued to build ever since. In the past few weeks, outlets from CNN to Us Weekly chronicled every detail of the Royal Wedding on Twitter, from the guest list to speculation about Kate’s dress.
The Royal Wedding has been a true mash-up of traditional and social media, integrating reporter commentary and coverage with consumer interaction. CBS reported that 9,000 new posts about the wedding are posted online each day. Soon after the engagement, a British Monarchy Facebook page was created to share an insider’s look from the Royal family, particularly leading up to the wedding. (The page currently has more than 400,000 “Like”s.)
The year of 2011 has been filled with devastation in the news, from the tragedies in Japan to the various tornadoes that recently hit the U.S. Why is it, then, that there is more chatter about the Royal Wedding in social media than the Japan earthquakes?
Perhaps the fairy tale union provides Americans the opportunity to cling to something positive. Or, it is possible that, bigger than the wedding itself, the union between William and Kate has sparked the new Monarchy in England, and we are fascinated to watch how it all unfolds.
As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to Buckingham Palace via a horse-drawn carriage, Piers Morgan noted: “After Diana died, a lot of people in Britain felt that the bright light of the Royal family had gone. That we had lost our superstar. As I watch these scenes, there’s no doubt, we have got a new superstar in Kate Middleton.”
Although the wedding itself is over, I have a notion that media coverage of the Duke and Duchess’ every move will be prominent. And I will be one of the people anxiously awaiting the latest…in my tiara, of course.