Is Facebook proving to be the next mass medium after television? If a President’s choice to address the public is a legit measurement, then yes; Facebook is becoming the next mass medium. With over 650 million active users, around 24% of them in the United States, Facebook will be the superstar of the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections!
On Wednesday, April 20, Facebook hosted a live Town Hall forum with President Barack Obama. It wasn’t a recorded interview, it wasn’t a live feed from the White House; it was President Obama live from Facebook headquarters in Paolo Alto, Calif., and interviewed by “the” Mark Zuckerberg himself! What this means is that Facebook was not only functioning as a distribution channel; Facebook was in fact a content producer.
Facebook has been producing original video content since it launched its own video content distribution platform, Facebook Live, in August 2010. In other words, Facebook now runs its own TV station! The surprise comes from the fact that in its original formula, Facebook is neither a video content producer, nor a video content distributor.
President Obama’s acknowledgement of Facebook’s power is a big statement, and this interview will definitely not be the President’s only encounter with social media users. It is projected that Obama specifically and the rest of the 2012 Presidential candidates in general will extensively use the power of social media to deliver their messages. Web sites such as Facebook will help the candidates build their popularity, especially amongst younger audiences.
Facebook entering the video production market at this critical political stage is an interesting move. Will Obama’s interview be the first of many similar political interviews to come? Only time will tell as we see the campaigns develop over the next few months.