The Royal Family apparently started a YouTube channel about two months ago, but I don’t think many people over here noticed it until it came time for the Queen’s annual Christmas message. At least, I don’t remember seeing anything about it two months ago, but I’ve seen it mentioned on three or four blogs this week.
I’m trying to figure out why I think this is such a good idea. If the Bush Administration suddenly started a YouTube channel, I wouldn’t think anything good about it. And I don’t think that’s entirely partisan. I don’t see myself watching 20 minutes of old Clinton home movies on the morning after Christmas either. But this morning, that’s what I found myself doing with the Royal Channel. An old movie depicting events from the death of King George to Elizabeth’s coronation, followed by a silent movie about the Queen Mother’s wedding and all of a sudden it was 20 minutes later.
Interestingly, they’ve disabled embedding.
I think there’s some aspect of admiration for whoever in the Royal Household had the idea of putting video proof of charitable acts and royal family events out "where the people are," to use that tired phrase — but I don’t think that by itself explains why I’m taken with this idea. I think that combined with the kind of information the royal family has available to broadcast in this way — those old videos, the historical stuff — is what makes this seem right to me. Most of the time that’s where I end up losing time on YouTube. Thirty minutes searching for Mario Savio talking about the machine, two hours of old Olympic coverage. This is where my actual time has actually gone in the last year.
So that leads me to the question – is this just the historian in me? Am I taken with the royal family channel because it’s way to see historical artifacts I wouldn’t otherwise easily see? Or is this a more objectively cool example of the right medium for the right message?