Poor Facebook. It just can’t catch a break lately. Between reported outages, continued stock losses, lawsuits, polls showing users never click ads, and the general public’s irresistible schadenfreude over the bungled IPO, you can just imagine that little blue-cuffed thumb pointing down right about now, giving a big old “Unlike.”
Now even Sean Parker (the Napster founder immortalized by Justin Timberlake in David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network just a few years ago), who still owns roughly 5% of Facebook, has given his own cash cow a little kick in the ribs.
Introducing his new product Airtime at an event, Parker said, “Facebook isn’t helping you make new connections, Facebook doesn’t develop new relationships, Facebook is just trying to be the most accurate model of your social graph…There’s a part of me that feels somewhat bored by all of this. There’s no room for serendipity.”
One can’t help being reminded of all the coverage lately of President Obama being undercut by various Democratic politicians (Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, Ed Rendell) for his criticism of Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital: with friends like these, right? Somewhere a bedraggled Mark Zuckerberg is thinking, “gee, thanks pal.”
Speaking of disastrous launches, the Airtime celebration was cursed with its own fair share of calamity. Parker had stocked the event with celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Jim Carrey, Jimmy Fallon, Joel McHale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Other famous names like Snoop Dogg were scheduled to be beamed in via the Airtime service. But all this star power was left to hang out aimlessly on stage, as technical difficulties caused chats to malfunction, following an initial delay of over an hour.
Developed by Parker along with his Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning, Airtime is a “social video network.” The technology itself looks like it’s somewhere between Apple’s FaceTime and infamous carnival of indecent exposure Chatroulette: you can use it to talk face-to-face with the friends you already have, or meet and greet total strangers. Unlike Chatroulette, it will run through Facebook, so your identity will be tied to it, thus deterring flashers et al.
With the above-named competitors, plus Google + hangouts, Skype, etc., it’s hard to see just how revolutionary this new service will be. What do you think: is Facebook passé? And if so, is Airtime the answer?
- Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning’s Airtime Launch (webpronews.com)
- Sean Parker’s “Airtime” launched to Public (airtime.com)
- Airtime launches as promising video social network (lostremote.com)
- Big Celebs, Big Ideas: The Double-Edged Sword of a Big Flashy Launch (pandodaily.com)
- Sean Parkers Startup Airtime Is Live : Video Sharing And Video Hangouts is Now More Fun [Video] (thetechnologycafe.com)