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Maintaining exclusivity in a social media age

Sunday, 26 January 2014 - 2:42pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

I recently attended the royal wedding of Lakshraj — scion of the Udaipur Maharana Arvindsinghji.

A lavish set up in Bhubaneswar, since the bride, Nivritti is from Bolangir Patna, Orissa.

The wedding of the year, families from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa, friends and guests from all over the world, gold, glitter and finery of the highest kind. Typical of Arvind Singhji style all broadcasting, photo shoot and relay rights made exclusive to the BBC. A week-long of festivities — starting in Orissa and ending at Lake Palace in Udaipur.

While the Orissa Royal family had taken months of careful and precise planning and made every effort to ensure that guests were well taken care of and had a good time, the city of Bhubaneshwar was swept by the celebrations with all roads leading to the wedding venues.

Whether it was the dance parties on the Puri Beach or the wedding venue, where the Bolangir Palace was recreated — the arrangements were exquisite.

International photographers, OB vans, hanging cameras, aerial cameras, were capturing it all and from every possible angle and direction. And there were an equal number of personal cameras and smart phones clicking away to glory. While BBC will take a few days to create a storyline, edit the feature and relay the wedding at a predisposed slot, the personal cameras and smart phones were instantaneously uploading on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites.

A decade ago, these pictures would be rare to come by, only to be released by BBC on a date and time chosen by them, or the pictures would have been an exclusive possession of the family, today this degree of exclusivity is definitely compromised with. When Prince Charles married Camilla in the era of social media, the web had sneak pictures of the couple, in sharp contrast when Prince Charles earlier married Lady Diana when social media had not yet set in, the only pictures one got to see were those released or relayed through the official channel.

Few days ago, a lesbian couple in California decided to tie the knot, since one of the partners was Indian, it was combined Indian and church wedding with ‘sindoor, varmala and pheras’, as well as , walking down the aisle and sealing the wedding vows with a ‘kiss’.

Since same gender wedding are still a debatable topic and given that India has just passed a law shunning it, the couple reported having wished for the wedding to be a small and private affair.

Though the California laws permit the wedding, their idea was not to create a flurry in international sentiments.

Within hours, the girls wedding pictures went viral on the net. One and all started to view the ceremony worldwide. Thankfully, it did not create a negative sentiment and the couple is now being seen as change makers. But anything could have happened. The pictures could have generated negative opinions and social groups could have started to opine openly and explicitly.

The social media is like a tightrope walking. There is no such thing as water tight exclusivity or secrecy anymore. The wide reach and the instant access have made the social media universal, all-pervading and omnipresent.

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