On April 8, Buzzfeed streamed a 45-minute video of a watermelon explosion using nearly 700 rubber bands through Facebook Live, which raked in almost 1 million views on that day.
As of today, April 9, over 7 million views have made this live-streaming content one of the top trending items on Internet. This little experiment boasts of the power of the new feature called Facebook Live added recently by the company.
It all started with two Buzzfeed reporters sitting around a table with a watermelon and 700 rubber bands. Their claim? To blow up the watermelon steadily using pressure from gradually adding more and more rubber bands. Sure enough, as the minutes ticked by, the watermelon started showing visible strain under the growing pressure, which had, at one time, almost 800,000 people hooked to the livestream.
These are some of the comments from the desperate viewers who couldn't stop watching to save their lives:
"I wish this wasn't live. I want to skip to the end."
"If it doesn't explode, this will be a worse cliffhanger then the Walking Dead season finale."
"I want to stop watching so bad but I'm already committed."
After 45 minutes of tension-building, when the detonated gourd was finally an edible mass, the video had managed to hold the attention of almost 1 million viewers through Facebook Live.
Looking at the rising popularity of the feature, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckeberg has made Facebook Live a top priority at the company. Facebook is adding new features to the live streaming platform to enable its 1.6 billion users to more actively shoot and watch live streams on their mobile devices. And why not? The "Watermelon Explosion Challenge" just about confirmed the overwhelming potential live streaming videos have on social media networks.
"We're entering this new golden age of videos online," said Zuckerberg, while describing the new feature as "new, raw, personal, spontaneous way people can share." Facebook Live rolled out to celebrities and public figures last summer and was more widely distributed this year.
Media sites have undoubtedly discovered a new way of garnering public attention, which Buzzfeed seems to have so effortlessly achieved merely with the help of two staffers, a few hundred rubber bands and a watermelon. But it would be wise to remember that despite the growing potential of Facebook Live, not all videos will be as wildly successful as the 'Watermelon Explosion' challenge.