The Airtime launch was a disaster. The event, hosted by Sean Parker, was intended to show off what Parker called "the best and fastest way to video chat with your Facebook platform."
[More from Mashable: Sean Parker’s Airtime Is Here: Video Chat Based on Facebook Interests]
Instead, it was a near-fiasco with what seemed like more celebrities than the Academy Awards and an unfortunate numbers of glitches and miscues.
It did not have to be this way.
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Parker clearly wanted an all-star event. He invited: Jim Carrey, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Ed Helms, Joe McHale, Jimmy Fallon, Olivia Munn, Alicia Keys and Snoop Dogg. All but the last two were in-person at Milk Studios on the West Side of Manhattan.
It certainly was dazzling, but it was also contrived. To demonstrate how the real-time, frictionless video chat and sharing service worked, Parker had each celebrity start off stage and talk to him through Airtime. Not the public Airtime you can use right now -- and please do, it's quite cool -- but a private network created just for the event.
Each celebrity would eventually admit that they were, in fact, in the building and then waltz on stage.
The failure began with Munn and continued, on and off, through the event. There were moments where Parker stood on stage with all those stars assembled just to his left, and seemed unsure what to do next.
At one point, someone suggested they switch the demo to the open network (Airtime went live an hour or so before the event began). Parker was unsure. To be clear, Airtime can connect you with people you know or others you may want to know via shared interests and friends.
Who knows what Parker, his celebs and the audience would have seen if he had switched it.
Eventually, Parker and Co. got it working, but only fitfully. Near the end of the demo, Parker seemed ready to close when he had to be reminded that they still had a video demo to show. It looked good, but by then the audience was almost as frazzled as Parker.
To their credit, all of the celebrities gamely smiled, laughed and even told little jokes to keep the audience engaged. McHale passed out mints to the front row. When Carrey arrived on stage after his partially successful demo, he added his own brand of crazy energy to the affair.
What you see above is Mashable's brief interview with the comedy film star and why he believes Airtime can still rule. As a bonus, we've also included Julia Louis Dreyfus' short yet no less interesting response.
Parker's star-a-palooza Airtime introduction was memorable for all the wrong reasons, but Airtime still shows promise. It worked for me as promised and is just the kind of platform that my teenagers would love.
Will the rest of the world embrace it? Perhaps. If celebrities actually use Airtime, that could mean larger brands will get on board -- and if they do, that could be the doorway to revenues. That said, Parker made no mention of monetization. Not a single actual product or major company was there to support the launch.
Take a moment to sign up for Airtime -- it's really just a Facebook authorization -- and give it a spin. You may find me on there; I would love to know what you think. Is this the video chat platform we've all been waiting for or simply a better policed Chatroulette? Does a bad launch augur product troubles ahead? You be the judge. Let us know in the comments.
Jimmy Fallon at Airtime Event
This story originally published on Mashable here.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Sean Parker
- Jimmy Fallon