Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

I Do… Want Some Magnum Ice Cream. (Really?)

No surprise that my Twitter feed is overrun with the royal wedding: This is the sort of thing that everyone says they don’t care about, but ends up watching/talking about anyway.

I am surprised, though, at what happens when I click on #royalwedding, Twitter’s official hashtag for the event: I end up on the day’s Promoted Trend, purchased on behalf of something called “Magnum Ice Cream,” and which directs Twitter users to Magnum’s Facebook page.

Turns out this is indeed a real product, from Unilever, and I guess they’re getting their money’s worth, because you’re reading about it now. More important is that near the height of the ceremony Twitter was seeing 13,000 #royalwedding tweets per minute.

I do wonder, though, how the media companies Twitter has been encouraging to use #royalwedding today feel about helping the social network promote the “stylish and luxurious lifestyle inspired by the world’s most pleasurable ice cream.”

Related: In advance of the event, Twitter and ABC News told me they were working closely together on live coverage and plans, with hashtag polls and onscreen meters showing the velocity and total number of wedding tweets, etc.  But this turned out to be pretty restrained: In an hour of viewing this morning, I only saw a single reference to Twitter cross my screen (an ABC rep tells me there have been more).

Also worth noting: If you wanted to, you could watch the wedding itself on, via a livestream that NBC News provided. Pretty sure we’ll see more of this.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik