Twitter nearly implodes with tiny arrival

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

There are some news stories that just take over the web and this week’s arrival of the newest royal was one of those stories.

As much as we try to pretend we are interested in serious, grown-up newsy stuff, there’s no denying most of us are suckers for a warm fuzzy story or a bit of juicy gossip. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hear the warm fuzzy “the baby’s here” story than some bit of tawdry celebrity dross any day.

It’s hard to believe one tiny little baby could cause so much buzz but there you have it: the royal munchkin has arrived and prompted much excitement both online and in real life.

Online news websites were taken over by baby fever, with story after story on every possible aspect of the impending arrival and on the goggle box, TV reporters struggling to fill in time as they waited for the Duchess of Cambridge to evict her little tenant.

Twitter very nearly imploded under the weight of a gazillion #royalbaby tweets and Facebook was awash with speculation on when and what gender (before his arrival) and what his name would be (after his arrival). I still think Norman has a good ring to it, and if it’s good enough for both my brother-in-law and my cat, then it’s certainly good enough for a future king.

For the most part, the feedback was positive: we were happy for a young couple about to become first-time parents. There were also plenty of good-humoured jokes and puns popping up (on Her Majesty’s secret cervix) as the world celebrated.

However, there were some negative undertones, with some posters on Facebook and Twitter having a whinge about there being so many updates about the royal baby and a few even being downright nasty.

Interestingly, you see a lot of that online and often from people who I know personally and can vouch for the fact they aren’t like that in real life.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect everyone’s right to express their own opinion but it seems that often people are far more critical and/or nasty online than they ever would be in the flesh.

I don’t have strong feelings either way about the royal family but like so many others out there, I was feeling quite chirpy when news of the wee fella’s arrival broke: you don’t have to be a staunch royalist to feel happy for the new parents and to appreciate a good news story among all the murders, job layoffs, natural disasters, wars and daily dramas.

Welcome to the world future King Norman. Hasn’t that got a nice ring to it?

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