Her Majesty's YouTube

I lived on the American side of the border across from Windsor and we often saw Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message, broadcast on the CBC. As I moved further away from the border, it was seldom that I saw or even thought of the message. Then the Royal Family added modern Internet media, through the BBC, allowing streaming of the Christmas message. Now there will be a regularly updated YouTube channel, starting with the 2007 Christmas message, according to an article on the CBC site.

[Queen Elizabeth launches Royal Channel on YouTube, 23 December 2007]

Monarchy is a bit of an anachronism in democracies, but it’s no stranger than a lot of systems in the world.  I also don’t follow the Royal Family and their positive contributions or their negative shenanigans.  Whoever coordinates their media has been pretty savvy, though, and has shifted a significant amount of information onto the Web.  It was the availability of the Christmas message streaming media on the BBC that encouraged me to watch it – almost like an impulse buy at a store.  I wouldn’t have been bothered if it wasn’t there, but, once found, there was almost no friction to stop me from watching it.  You can even download it as a podcast.

YouTube is an interesting development.  As someone who seldom watches television and gets nearly all of my current information from electronic sources, there are few reasons for me to go to the site.  It’s a clever re-use of the medium, though, for leaders like Queen Elizabeth to take content they are already creating and posting them to YouTube.  Adopting the “long tail” perspective, even if only a handful of people see it on this new channel, it’s worth the time and effort to get it online.

I swung by the Royal Family’s official site and saw this link to a new tune composed and performed by the Royal Piper.  Now what bagpiper wouldn’t want to hear a new tune, played by an exceptional piper – only the 12th piper to the Royal Family in 164 years!

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.