Keeping up with the Royal Family

My fascination with the Royal Family started years ago when Kate Middleton got married to William, the future King of England. I remember the huge worldwide event- every single TV at my high school was tuned in on the Royal Wedding. It was a like a fairytale – a “commoner” was marrying into the British monarchy! My love for the British Royal Family grew after spending a semester abroad in London this past Spring. While I was there, I admittedly was obsessed with the idea of seeing them in public. So, like any millennial would do nowadays, I followed the British Royal Family on social media to track their activities and to hopefully catch a glimpse of them driving around London (or get invited to tea at Buckingham Palace).

As one of the most well-known governing bodies in the world, the British Royal Family has been intensely watched by the public for centuries. The fascination surrounding the family has led to continuous news coverage, and this curiosity has influenced a rapid flow of tabloid headlines covering scandals and rumors involving the family. On the other hand, real authentic news have been heavily restricted by the monarchy, and announcements from Buckingham Palace have traditionally been restricted to print newspapers. Whether or not the coverage is real or fake, the monarchy has had a long history of bad relationships with the press and news outlets, from the death of Princess Diana to topless pictures of Kate Middleton on vacation.

 

 

As the world becomes more interconnected and transparent, it has become easier to learn about the lives of influential figures. People (like myself) LOVE the British Royal Family. News publications and tabloids love them too! PEOPLE magazine has a page solely dedicated to the Royals. See here. Monarchies and governments around the world have had to adapt to changes in the protection of privacy. While the times have certainly changed since the beginning of the monarchy, the British monarchy has had to continuously adapt to changes in its empire and in the world, including digital transformations.

So.. how has the British monarchy adapted to the changing tides? 

Well, the short answer is: They signed up for Twitter. But no, the Queen does not tweet.

However, the Queen and the royal family apparently LOVE social media.

“She’s always been conscious of improving the ways we communicate the work of the royal family. She’s been an enthusiastic supporter of social media since the early days of it.”

-Palace source to PEOPLE magazine

Buckingham Palace even hired a social media consultant last year in order to increase the presence of the royal family in the digital space. The job description required the following:

  1. To boost the Royal Family’s presence on Twitter and Facebook and ensure that there is a worldwide audience.
  2. Make sure digital channels consistently spark interest and reach a range of audiences
  3. Require experience of managing and editing high profile website, and other digital formats
  4. Lead, develop and inspire others through people management

The royal family’s efforts have certainly paid off, and their online presence is increasing everyday. The royal family’s Twitter page (@RoyalFamily) currently has 3.26 million followers and over 26.3K tweets detailing the work and activities of The Queen and members of The Royal Family. It is a great way to learn about the official activities of the family; however, sadly, we don’t get any pictures of the Queen just hanging out with Phillip and their corgis (sad). In addition to Twitter, the Royal Family also has accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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In addition to detailing the official activities of the Queen, the royal family has decided to turn to social media in order to appeal to younger audiences. The monarchy’s beloved princes, Prince William and Prince Harry have used social media to talk about their experiences and share about their lives. For example, Prince Harry and Prince William have turned to digital resources to bring attention to the Heads Together campaign to end stigma surrounding mental health. As part of the campaign, Kate Middleton, William, and Harry were featured in a YouTube video discussing and reflecting on the importance of mental health awareness.  The Heads Together has 3.7K subscribers and has been viewed over 250,000 times. Aside from YouTube videos, Prince Harry has also utilized the Facebook Live feature. In July 2016, Prince Harry was filmed on FB Live getting an HIV test in order to encourage others and remove the stigma surrounding tests.

Let’s face it, having a social media presence is really good PR for the British monarchy. Social media allows the royal family to showcase their latest humanitarian efforts as well as other official activities. The family exists because the public allows them to, and they need to make sure that they are effectively communicating with the public.  During times when the concept of monarchy sounds outdated, the royal family can use social media to generate sympathy and popular support from the public, especially a public that has a growing generation of millennials who are addicted to digital. Royal expert Victoria Howard, editor of The Crown Chronicles, says that “people often expect that the monarchy is only of interest to older generations, but the younger rolls’ use of social media is creating a relationship with a younger audience.”  I mean, who doesn’t love watching Prince Harry doing a great deed? Swoon. 

While it is great that the British monarchy has leveraged social media and digital platforms to communicate with the public, I wish that the interactions were more personal. For example, many of the content on their social media platforms sound heavily scripted. Of course there are security details and implications surrounding complete open communication and transparency; however it would be great to see the British family tweet or share with the public about other aspects of their lives.

The future of the monarchy will one day rest in the hands of the Royal babies, Prince George and Princess Charlotte (and Baby #3 on the way), who will all grow up in a world with technology. I wonder how the Royal Family will continue to adapt to advancements in technology. Either way, I’m excited to continue stalking them!

8 comments

  1. Sheritta Coleburn · ·

    That is really interesting that the Royal Family found it important to make their digital presence known, and a smart decision as well. I know a few of my friends who love the Royal Family too and with our stalking ability, this makes it great for everyone to keep up to date with the family. I am not surprised that they have hired someone to help increase their digital presence and monitoring their post where they sound scripted. It is an important image that they have to obtain, and we knew social media can be the number one factor in destroying peoples image! I also really like how Prince Harry and Prince William are really taking advantage of their social media to spread awareness and send positive messages.

  2. briandentonbc · ·

    Really cool post! I found it super funny that the Queen is all in on social media. I think that social media can be used by the Royal Family as a sort of contrast to all of the “news” that gets reported about them from tabloids and less-than-reputable media outlets. Having a base of 3 million followers that they can reach out to and show all the good things that they are doing for the community is a nice counterbalance to the “Harry blows $15 million inheritance on drugs, booze, and women” headlines from the tabloids. A direct line of communication from the Royal Family to their followers can only benefit them in the long run. It is unfortunate that they feel the need to keep their account so formal, but I think it benefits them nonetheless.

  3. Cool post! I think it’s a great initiative of the Royal Family to start being more active on social media. I also took a look at their Youtube channel and noticed that a lot of their content highlights their humanitarian efforts. Makes me wonder if that’s the true brand image they want or if they’re trying to combat the bad printed press. Also since they were able to gain a 3.27m followers on Twitter with such formal posts, I hope they have more informal channels like weekly vlogs in the future since their follower base would increase tremendously if more people were able to understand that royals are also like ordinary people on a day-to-day basis

  4. chloeshepard18 · ·

    I think it’s awesome that the Royal Family has started to use social media. They were popular enough before but you’re right that they were involved in many bad press scandals. Tabloids are always trying to bring out the worst in people because that’s what sells so it’s really nice that the Royal Family is able to combat this and showcase their humanitarian efforts.

  5. whitmcdonald2 · ·

    Thank you for sharing, I also am very interested/obsessed with them. It’s hard not to be! I’ve watched multiple different movies, documentaries about them. I recently finished Netflix’s Crown which highlights Queen Elizabeth’s early years as a young daughter, a new wife and new monarchy in times of controversy, war, etc. What I’ve gotten from all of these is that Queen Elizabeth has always been worried about privacy and tradition whether that was with her sister’s love affairs/engagements or with Princess Dianna’s death. So it is surprising to some degree that they have taken to social media, but when you look at what they are sharing/doing on their profiles it doesn’t surprise me. Sharing their humanitarian efforts and issues that are affecting their population and people all over the world is a smart business initiative especially when reaching younger audiences. Really awesome post- I’m going to follow them right now :)

  6. kaitlinardiff · ·

    Hahahaha happy to see the London Lady inside of you never dies! This is so cool that the Royal Family has their own Twitter account. It’s definitely a smart move as they can easily disseminate information from the account since the immediacy of events between Kate/William’s family might differ from the Queen’s. It’s also super interesting to compare it with Trump’s infamous Twitter account. The Royal Family’s account seems much more professional and is used to provide status updates for the public, whereas Trump’s account is much more personal with a lot of opinionated comments. I wonder if this can be attributed to a personality difference, or also a geographic difference in terms of how different regions use social media?

  7. What a great post. I don’t think there’s been many on this topic over the years, and I’m quite surprised now that you write about it!

  8. taylorvanhare · ·

    What an awesome post! I loved reading about the influence and scope the royal family has had with their new presence on social media! I think the reason that many of their tweets seem so scripted have to do with the image they are trying to uphold. I think this also relates to @whitmcdonald2 mention of the show the The Crown on Netflix. I loved watching the show too, and it was pretty accurate, but I could tell there were lots of parts of it that were embellished for dramatic affect. I know that the directors of the show had to constantly consult the royal family – so I am sure they had an influence in what story was actually presented. I think the royal family will continue to curate a certain image and presence digitally until the younger generation demands otherwise!

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