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The Queen and I and All of You: On To 2008

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In a world where very few people seem to agree on anything, there is consensus that 2007 went by very quickly, and people hope 2008 will be a better year.

A lot happened over the past year, but I wonder how much we'll remember as history whizzes by and technology piles on so many more ways to quickly capture and then store information.

I think some of the year's biggest changes could be summed up by the announcement of www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel, the Queen of England's own channel ("The Official Channel of the British Monarch"). It's not on the BBC, PBS or syndicated through Reuters. No, the Queen has now posted her videos on YouTube, joining millions of others who think they have something to say or show.

It sounded like a good idea and a way to update the image of the Royal Family. The site made its debut with the Queen's annual Christmas message. For just over seven minutes -- preceded by pomp, circumstance and one of those great BBC voices -- the Queen wishes us a Merry Christmas. She begins by looking back at her first Christmas message from 1957, when a younger Queen Elizabeth II talks about all the changes in life.

Showing family videos (including her grandsons at a formal reception), the Queen tells stories linking Jesus and Christmas to people who need help today, and reminding everyone that they have an obligation "to care for the vulnerable." She also pays tribute to the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and mourns those lost serving their countries.

The message ends with footage of Queen Elizabeth II's earlier message 50 years ago, and it's actually very sweet. If the strategy is to help counter the image from the film, The Queen, and recent stories about the out-of-touch Queen, I think it was a good step. I envisioned people around the world watching this, hopefully taking in her words and seeing her Christmas tree.

Surprisingly, though, it seems that under 600,000 people have watched the video on YouTube. That's not even a good audience number for a primetime cable show, and the video has been online for more than a week. I guess in a year where everything whizzes by, the Queen could have shortened her Internet debut video to get better ratings from audiences with shortened attention spans.

I hope the Queen's public information people are telling her that hundreds of thousands of views are good. She doesn't have to know that dogs on diving boards, ventriloquists and clumsy teenagers get more attention than she does.

As we fade in to 2008, I'm looking forward to more changes, more interesting blogs and videos and hoping for health, peace and happiness for all.

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