As I wrote a couple weeks back, CNN.com and Facebook were teaming up to allow Facebook users to watch the inauguration on their computers, comment on it straight from the video player, all while checking out their friends comments as well. The idea was sound, and in fact KC Estenson, senior VP and GM of CNN.com said that the network was planning for a record number of viewers online.Apparently they still underestimated the response. My feed was working fine at first, then I started getting a few hiccups, then for a period of a few minutes during the introductions, it froze altogether. It was about this time that I went and found a TV.
When I came back a little while later to check on it, I found the video feed working, but lagging the network by at least 30 seconds, maybe more. For an event like this, that was unacceptable.
That having been said, the technology behind it was very seductive and worked smoothly. I really enjoyed seeing my friend’s status updates on Facebook, including reactions to what was happening in real time. I also enjoyed reading what other CNN.com viewers had to say. It really was a cool experience… or it would have been had the video feed worked smoothly.
Long term, I think that this format of gathering Facebook users around an event and having them converse about it is a winning combo. It is great for Facebook because it keeps users involved, it is great for the network because it unites people around their programming and it is great for the consumer because they can experience an event in a cool, new interactive way.