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Lots of social media for Royal Wedding, no breakthroughs

Updated: Despite being the largest single video streaming event in history, it didn’t break the internet. The royal wedding of Prince WIlliam and Catherine Middleton was every bit a social media affair, but the web seemed largely prepared. It probably didn’t hurt that it happened in the early hours of the morning in the U.S., limiting web activity.

The Service
(Photo from the British Monarchy’s Flickr stream)

As we wondered whether the #royalwedding or #rw2011 hashtag would be the Tweeters’ Choice, along came HashtagBattle.com to help us out. The “official” hashtag was #rw2011, but that sounded awkward to me. (As opposed to “#rw2012?) The people have spoken, and #royalwedding has about a 9:1 advantage.

And the sponsor for the promoted trend #royalwedding on Twitter? Magnum Ice Cream.

BBC America used Cover It Live to liveblog the wedding and aggregate tweets about it. They frequently posted pictures from the event as well. Good work.

The British Monarchy’s Flickr photostream kept right up with the action, continuously posting shots from the event. And let’s just pause for a moment and reflect on the terms “The British Monarchy’s Flickr photostream” and “The Royal YouTube page.”

My own experiences with online streaming were mixed. The BBC America stream flickered; the ABC News stream on Hulu had audio but no video on the first try and heavy compression on the second attempt; and I couldn’t get the CNN stream to start, despite three tries. After the event, CNN.com says it served up 575,000 live streams and received 247 submissions to iReport. And Livestream reported its biggest event ever — 300,000 concurrent viewers at 6 a.m. ET.

I found the iPhone and iPad apps to be disappointing. Most were just static programs for the wedding. That’s fine – but given the interactive ability, the apps really should have had more ongoing content. One exception was NBC’s Royal Wedding app, which had frequent video, text and picture updates. On the whole, the mobile experience was a letdown. We could have seen a lot more than just aggregated tweets and pre-produced segments. The apps need to give a feeling of the interaction that happens while the event moves on.

There were no revelations of new ways to cover an event or to mix social with traditional media here. Instead, we saw the State of Social TV on display – a mashup of traditional and new media, commentary and user interaction.

Earlier: Social media links and resources for the Royal Wedding

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