The Duchess, the pregnancy and the culture of Twitter

On the 3rd of December, St.

On the 3rd of December, St. James’ Palace confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant, having been recovering at the King Edward VII Hospital in London from hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition which affects two percent of the female population. Yet, as the announcement was being put together, there had been questions from aides at Buckingham Palace to get the message out before it leaked.

According to a report from the Daily Telegraph, after she had taken ill the previous weekend whilst staying with her parents, and it was confirmed by physicians, there had been a rush to tell members of the Royal Family before the news came out, citing Twitter’s current culture. Aides said in the Twitter age, the decision to go public was very much that of the Duke and Duchess. “It’s a very hard thing to go public at such an early stage, but they wanted to be open with people as much as possible,” the aide told the Telegraph.

The announcement came at 4.01pm that day, the Telegraph report added, with a tweet from the Clarence House Twitter account came ten minutes later, becoming the first official pregnancy announcement to be made on the social networking platform.

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge declined to comment on the quote and any influence of the social network’s news culture when asked, but said the quote from the royal aide was sensible. The spokesperson added that the decision was based on the admission of the Duchess to hospital. “Given HRH’s admission to hospital The Duke and Duchess took the difficult decision to be fully open about the pregnancy,” the spokesperson said. “We said last Monday [the 3rd] that The Duchess’s pregnancy had not yet passed the 12 week point.”

It does reveal an interesting question though. Has the news culture of Twitter influenced any decision surrounding this specific of an announcement? Andrea Britton, a social media strategist based in London, says Twitter has changed the reporting of information. “There is absolutely no way things can be hidden anymore and this is due to Twitter and the power of social media,” Britton said. “The media still has a lot of global power and they should be reporting hard facts. Selective media reporting could become a thing of the past.”

Britton cites the reporting of Hurricane Sandy, which affected New York and other areas of the East Coast of the United States earlier this year. “The press didn’t really tell us how many people were dead, injured, affected. But Twitter did,” Britton said.

Britton adds however that if people are better educated as to how to use social media properly, the better. “There will always be someone somewhere that will take advantage,” Britton said. “Doctor a picture for the sake of comedy, send a hoax death tweet, etc. But the more people are educated and skilled in using social media wisely, the better. Remember, we are the guinea pigs. We are all still learning too. Even the ‘so called experts’. Nobody has all the answers and the people that say they do, are liars!”


What is your thought on the role of Twitter and social media today? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook and on Twitter.