For my best friend’s 9th birthday party, his parents took us down to the local movie theater to watch the new hit movie, Night At the Museum. Ben Stiller, one of my favorite actors at the time, played the lead role and I was ecstatic to go see this as I had been putting it off for about a month. The movie was fantastic to say the least, and after that night my dream was to go visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as I’m sure it was for many kids who went to see the film. Living in Pittsburgh, I never had the chance to make it to D.C. to witness the museum in person and sadly still have not visited the Smithsonian to this day.
But what if there was a way to get to see a museum, or any other location or event when unable to physically be there?
The response to this question came with the creation of Facebook Live, a new addition to Facebook that allows users to share live video at any time with their followers and friends. This addition also allows for viewer feedback resulting in live conversation. Launched in April this year, many people have used this feature and it continues to grow as a way to share “in the moment” events within your life.
After the release, Facebook signed deals with several companies and celebrities to promote the feature and test out new functions. Facebook has paid over $50 million through these deals, and it has paid off for both them and those under contract.
The reason I brought up the Smithsonian before was because one organization that has used this feature is the Metropolitan Museum of Natural Art in New York City (Known as The Met for short). The Met has posted many videos whether it is exploring an exhibit, meeting a museum specialist, or having a question and answer session with famous people in the art world. These videos quickly made the museum’s Facebook page a hot spot for viewers and continues to grow. Their most popular video was a Q&A with the curator-in-charge of The Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton, which racked up over 50,000 views on the first day and over 90,000 views total.
Recently, The Met tried out a new addition to this feature where they posted a live video in which viewers can use their mouse to get a 360° view of their brand new building The Met Breuer. This has reached over 2 million views and is a potential game changing innovation by Facebook if it is to be able to be used by anyone.
Overall this move by The Met has benefited society through the ability to witness their art from anywhere. This move, however, has also benefited The Met through a boost in popularity online as their viewers from old videos to new videos has spiked by tens of thousands since beginning to use Facebook Live.