Our modern, computerized age has made another small step for man as Facebook.com has accelerated into the fast lane with the upcoming feature of personal video “diaries.” Still photographs are becoming a thing of the past; upload pictures no longer! The college and high school oriented social networking Web site gains an estimated 20,000 new user profiles a day, making it the seventh most visited Web site in the United States. The owners of Facebook are aiming to sell the website for $2 billion, according to BusinessWeek.com, and are teaming up with larger companies to change and improve the site. One of these larger companies is Comcast Corp., who is responsible for the new video feature.
Comcast is planning to launch the new feature with a mini series appearing on cable television called “Facebook Diaries.” The 10 episode series that will appear on Comcast’s On Demand and on Facebook.com. They will be made up of half-hour episodes that have been submitted by Facebook users. Topics covered in the episodes, as cited by BusinessWeek.com, will include “Who am I?” and “Life During Wartime.” The companies have recruited veteran reality T.V. producer R.J. Cutler.
The videos are not uploaded directly onto a Facebook profile, however. Comcast’s interest in the partnership lies in the use of one of their Web sites, Ziddio.com. Ziddio is similar to YouTube, focusing mainly on personal video uploading. Facebook users will have to upload their videos through Ziddio and then will have them linked into their Facebook profile. Comcast is hoping to enlarge their market by incorporating Facebook’s 16 million users, according to TVWeek.com.
Student reactions to the new video feature are generally mild. Brooke Hantman, Junior said, “It’s probably a bad idea because it will end up being a lot of drunken people doing drunken things.” Patrick Eichelberger, Junior simply said “If it makes me laugh, I say thumbs up.” Kara Jessel, Senior commented, “I think that the new feature will tempt people to abuse their first amendment rights.” The videos can be recorded with anything from video cameras to cell phones, which will result in a variety of video content and quality.
Over the past several months, Facebook has integrated several new features such as the news feed, notes, status and gifts. These additions have been made to enhance the Facebook experience. A study of Facebook on TechCrunch.com revealed that 85 percent of American college students have a Facebook profile, and 60 percent of those students log in on a daily basis. Video posting will make Facebook relatively equal to Myspace as far as features are concerned.
Videos may also create problems for college students, however. As reported by The Quad last February, incriminating photos involving alcohol could be used as evidence by the department Public Safety. Video footage could potentially add to the dangers, as no stated limits or censorship of video content have been noted by Facebook thus far. Personal discretion about what will appear in videos seems to be the safest bet.
The availability of the video feature has not yet been completely determined. Initially, the “diaries” will be submitted to Facebook in a contest-like form and will then be used if chosen. The feature will most likely become available to all members as NewTeeVee.com has reported. Revenues from the video feature will be generated for Facebook and Comcast mainly through advertising. The Facebook video “diaries” do not have a set premiering date as of now but are scheduled for a 2007 debut.