For those of you who woke up at 4am and gathered around the television to watch the marriage of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles in the early ’80’s, you must remember that once upon a time there were only 3-4 television channels and if you wanted news, you either tuned in to one of those stations, listened to the radio or read the daily newspaper. And it wasn’t even a decade ago that we had to have an electrical connection and a strong satellite signal to get news from overseas.
But on Friday all of us with a smartphone and a semi-decent 3G signal will be able to watch the next generation of royals get married in real time from a location of our choosing. There will be ye olde wall-to-wall TV and radio coverage, but there will also be live streaming on countless websites, thousands of Twitter feeds chatting us through the entire day minute-by minute, and several smartphone apps that enable users to walk through the entire wedding before, during, and after the ceremony. Our experience of William and Kate’s wedding will be completely different from that of William’s parents.
Live streaming of the event will enable, say, a designer to size up Kate Middleton’s dress from the minute she steps out of her limo, and have a pattern finished and sample sewn by the time Prince Charles raises his glass to the newlyweds at the afternoon reception at Buckingham Palace. Speaking of the palace, on Monday a palace guard who trashed Kate Middleton on his Facebook page was summarily dismissed. This was of no surprise to those of us who work in our own cubicle fiefdoms. We know that our personal social media communiques have real consequences at work, and that once something “private” is posted, it is likely to end up in the boss’ inbox.
This goes for the royal wedding, where certainly someone will sneak in a camera, leak some photos and those photos will be flung across the globe in a matter of seconds. During Charles and Diana’s wedding, we waited until the next morning or the afternoon edition of the daily paper to see up-close photos of Diana’s gown, and news of the ceremony from an insider’s POV leaked out over a matter of days.
The unprecedented reliance on social media has already provided opportunities for bricks and mortar establishments to promote their brand: hotels and cruise ships are offering special royal wedding packages through Facebook–only offers. And websites live-streaming with unique pithy commentary can tailor their messaging to focusing on aspects of the wedding that is relevant to their brand: the gossip, the fashion, the food, the pomp.
Whereas 30 years ago, we could only use the on/off button to alter our experience to the royal wedding, on Friday we will be able to tailor our experience of these nuptials to our specific tastes. As we gather together to eat our scones and drink our tea Friday morning, we can follow our go-to sartorial Twitter feed, troll our favorite curated shopping sites to pre-prder that amazing hat Princess Bea is wearing, and post a photo of it on Facebook to see what our friends and colleagues think.
How will you design your media experience for the marriage of the future King and Queen of England? Comment here and let us know! On Friday, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and fill us in on the unique ways you are willingly or unwillingly tuning in to the celebration.