When thinking about fusing video and social media, YouTube is normally the first thing that pops into your head, and with good reason. The site offers original content (see Afro ninja) along with full movies that have made their way online. Facebook, however, seems to be emerging as a possible new launch site for videos and could be a better option in the future when compared to YouTube.
Just this week, Absolut Vodka jumped on the bandwagon by teaming up with Jay-Z for a documentary about the rapper that was set to debut on Absolut’s fan page. The price for admission was becoming a fan of Abolut Vodka on Facebook and, of course, your friends seeing that you have become a fan of an alcohol brand on a social media site.
The embodiment of a true social screening comes in the documentary “Earth Days”. The film documents the American environmental movement from the 1950’s to the first Earth Day in 1970. After making the rounds at the Sundance Film Festival, it will debut on Facebook on April 11, 2010. The date of the film’s release also happens to be 11 days before Earth Day. In those 11 days, you could choose to spread your new found earth saving knowledge via social media. Unlike the Absolut/Jay-Z, where there’s more pointless promotion than social media, “Earth Days” executive producer Mark Samels and director Robert Stone will be interacting with users while the film takes place. Participating in the discussion will be as simple as posting a question on the wall.
Also with “Earth Days” debut on Facebook, there is hope it will bring in traffic to PBS. On April 19th, PBS will present the film on their television channel. PBS hopes that the buzz from the Facebook viewing will trickle down and help the network boost viewership. Imagine that – social media helping to bring viewers to a Â television channel. Who would’ve ever thunk it?
In the end, “Earth Days” is nowhere close to being a ground breaking, awe inspiring film and, for the most part, it focuses on a lesser known holiday. But these Â social screenings could be a step in the right direction by mixing community and multimedia.Â Music videos, movies, and video game trailers could use Facebook as a tool to get instant feedback while allowing users to interact with producers and content developers on a less daunting level. Research from Chitika shows about 9% of users on Facebook gravitate towards entertainment while on the site, andvif social screenings start to catch on, those numbers will rise indefinitely. Keep your fingers crossed.