‘Video Killed the Anonymous Star’

Today marks the beginning of the end of the anonymous written “Comment” on social media. HuffPost Live launched today—think of it as all Live Video Commenting all the time. People submit video comments and the HuffPost Live staff reviews, culls, and selects the ones who’ll comment live and in color. This is ‘the American Idol’ of social media.

If you tuned-in this morning for the launch you gawked with slacked-jaw at the first three pieces: the Yahoo CEO maternity controversy, followed by a hashing-out of whether the country is ready for an atheist president, and last but not least a full frontal discussion of body hair. If you thought video comments were going to elevate the discourse on social media HuffPost Live disabused you of that straight-away.

Screenshot: Kicking-off on the Yahoo maternity scandal

Screenshot: Video commenter on maternity at Yahoo

Screenshot: Is American ready for an atheist president?

Screenshot: TMI Live (private parts hair discussion)

Setting aside the choice topics what can be said about Day 1? One thing jumps out at you—there are signs of intelligent life here. Without exception the intelligence, adroitness, and facility with language were all several orders of magnitude above legacy video media companies such as NBC, ABC, CNN, CNBC, CBS, FOX, NPR. The chosen moderators as well as commenters were far superior in every way to their traditional media outlet counterparts. We marvel at how they might perform on a stage with less salacious topics.

The only other problem was a technical one. Unless everyone has fiber to the device there will be latency, feedback, and echo and HuffPost Live has it all. But even there all the players dealt with it sensibly and didn’t miss a beat. Video social is likely going to succeed in spite of glitches (it’s already raised the bar). The era of big anonymous commenting is over.

But we can’t help wondering…will video commenters be more mindful or will they revert to their inner anonymous bad-guy when the novelty wears-off?


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