Facebook Is Making It Easier for Communities to Stay Connected With Video

Author: David McMillin       

The biggest name in social media is helping users coordinate Q&As, trade ideas, and host tutorials without ever leaving home. Learn more about the company’s new Watch Party feature here.

As a wave of headlines about Facebook’s sudden struggles rushed over Wall Street last week, it was easy to miss that the social-media giant announced more than its lackluster second-quarter earnings. The company also unveiled Watch Party, a tool that gives the members of Facebook Groups the ability to watch videos together in real-time, make comments, and enjoy a shared viewing experience. Think of sending out invitations to your friends and colleagues to come to your house next week to watch a movie or a big game. Watch Party is somewhat similar with the notable exception that you won’t have to straighten up your house and buy food for your guests.

“We believe that if people can start a Watch Party directly from their profile or from a video they’re watching, the experience of watching video on Facebook can become even more fun and social,” Erin Connolly, product manager at Facebook, wrote in a post about the feature.

Watch Party is now available for everyone on Facebook, but it’s been available to select Facebook Groups since January. Those communities have used it for a range of shared viewing experiences. For example, The Dogspotting Society Group watched lighthearted videos of, you guessed it, dogs. The videos aren’t all simple viral content, though. Consider FIN, a secret women-only group that calls itself a “no-judgment support group for women of African culture.” The community hosted Watch Parties for members to discuss various topics of interest to the group.

Watch Party has obvious implications for any organization that aims to keep members engaged with video content throughout the year. In addition to webinars and more sophisticated video production, Watch Party offers a simple, low-cost way to bring the members of a community together for a casual conversation.

While there are possibilities for organizations, Watch Party should also serve as a reminder that organizations no longer control when conversations can happen or what they can cover. For example, consider the Physician Moms Group, a community that unites women physicians who are also parents. Over the weekend, they hosted a Watch Party with videos celebrating women’s empowerment, motherhood, and medicine. They didn’t need a well-known medical organization with thousands of members to arrange the event, either. They did it themselves.

Learn more about Watch Party here.

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