There’s only one story around at the moment…and that’s the Royal Wedding.
And with such a massive focus on the ceremony between Prince William and Kate Middleton it was hardly surprising that millions turned to the internet to check out the latest details.
Global news traffic peaked at around 1.30pm British time yesterdayAkamai, at 5.3million page views per minute according to traffic monitor Akamai.
This made it the sixth biggest event in the history of the internet, but it failed to overtake several major sporting events.
With so many people using the web during the ceremony it was little surprise that Facebook and Twitter also saw huge traffic as people updated their status or tweeted during proceedings.
During the ceremony, there were 268,777 mentions of the wedding in the UK alone, equal to 74 every second.
On Twitter, the micro-blogging site. the event at its peak was mentioned 67 times a second.
In the more traditional media, newspapers put on huge print runs and brought out special evening editions to cover the ceremony.
Even British troops serving in Afghanistan used the internet to send their best wishes to the royal couple.
The UK military media operations team based at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province said, ‘Everyone in Afghanistan is hard at work, but the telly is on and we are watching where we can. Congratulations to William and Kate.’
Trending topics on Twitter as well as on Facebook were dominated by the wedding. Terms included Westminster Abbey, Prince William, Kate Middleton as well as Camilla and Jerusalem, the hymn written by William Blake and Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.
Interestingly, the hashtag ‘proudtobebritish’ also became a trending topic with the former England captain Michael Vaughan adding his thoughts.
Some 10,600 allusions to Kate’s dress were recorded among UK users during the ceremony, with 4,583 comments on Sir Elton John singing along.As the first major event of the social media age was played out, users of the site poured their excitement about it straight on to the web pages.
The number of visitors began climbing from early morning reaching a peak when the happy couple kissed on the balcony at Buckingham Palace in the early afternoon. At that point the website recorded twice its usual amount of traffic. The same pattern was seen in the U.S.
The BBC website, with a live stream reporting the wedding proceedings, struggled under its weight of traffic and crashed at one point.
For the more conventional press, the Royal Wedding meant breaking with tradition.
As has become the norm with notable occasions celebrities shared their thoughts on the unfolding day by posting a series of messages online.
Some were complimentary and others less so.
TV presenter Piers Morgan said, ‘One overriding thought watching this magnificent occasion: The British Monarchy is back.’
However the broadcaster Stephen Fry (choosing to watch the Snooker World Championship instead) wrote, “Sh! Frame 14 under way. You could cut the tension with a Black and Decker tension cutter.’
While a Victoria Beckham was lucky to receive a coveted invite to the Abbey, her former Spice Girl bandmate Emma Bunton was forced to watch the occasion on TV like millions of others.
‘Absolutely beautiful couple!!! They look exquisite!’, she tweeted.
The wedding even captured the attention of teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber who also singled out Kate’s sister Pippa for a special mention: ‘Congrats to William and Kate and Kate’s sister.’
Footballer Wayne Rooney’s wife Coleen added, ‘Congratulations Kate and William. May you have a very happy life together.’
By the time the newlyweds emerged for the procession to Buckingham Palace, the number of mentions by users around Britain had hit 1,199,196, Facebook said.
Less predictable, perhaps, was the fact that during the ceremony, Prince Harry was talked about more than his brother by UK users.
Other royal wedding-related terms that featured prominently in Facebook status updates on Friday included ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘Union Jack’ and ‘British monarchy’.
by Robbo Green