Why did 115k people watch the BuzzFeed Talcum Powder Balloon video?

Jun 24, 2016   //   by Raylene   //   Blog, Facebook  //  Comments Off on Why did 115k people watch the BuzzFeed Talcum Powder Balloon video?

BuzzFeed Talcum Powder Balloon Video (Facebook LIVE)

So this happened today, and I watched it as it was unfolding:

BuzzFeed was on Facebook Live, trying to pop a huge balloon filled with talcum powder.


I watched The Talcum Powder Balloon video from about 1/2 way through the balloon filling.  I just saw it in my news feed while scrolling (as you do) and was intrigued enough to stop and watch.

When I started watching, there were only (yah, ‘only’) a few thousand people viewing the video live, and the balloon was a LONG way from popping.

When the balloon finally popped, there were something like 115,000 people watching!!!!!


Waiting (and waiting…) for the balloon to pop

Several times throughout the live video, my daughter (who was watching with me) and I mused about why we were watching the video.  A few minutes later, we wondered, out loud and with no good answers, why were STILL watching the video, even though the balloon still had not popped.  

Simply put: We tuned in to see the balloon pop, right? So we now had to wait to see the balloon pop. Right? Neither one of us was exactly sure about that…

While we were waiting … and waiting … and waiting, we read through the comments on the video post.

Many viewers echoed our sentiments:

  • “Why are we watching this?”
  • “Why are we still watching this?”
  • “Why can’t we stop watching this?”

At least we weren’t alone in our waiting and wondering.

And we kept waiting, some of us for the full 48 minutes, for the balloon to pop.

We waited.

We read and wrote and reacted to comments.

We were bored.

And, yet, we could NOT scroll on.

We NEEDED to see the balloon pop.

We were almost afraid of missing the pop.

We were all collectively willing the balloon to pop, or to be popped in some unusual manner.  We were cheering for the balloon (or was that for the pumpers blowing up the balloon?).

Buzzfeed Talcum Powder Balloon POPPED - Facebook Live videoThen the balloon did, FINALLY, pop.

And that was that.

The balloon popping was ok, but nothing spectacular.

A few “aw”s went through the comments, as well as a few more cheers, and a lot of “FINALLY”s.

Then all 115,000 viewers/commenters finally clicked OFF the video and scrolled on to other parts of our day.


Why were 115K people watching the balloon video?

What kept us, all 115,000 of us, sitting there for up to 50 minutes, waiting for the balloon to pop?

Suspense. Anticipation. Group-think. Bandwagoning.  I think those all play a part.

Ultimately, for me, it was the comments that kept me on the video.  The comments were hilarious, as you might imagine. They were probably the real entertainment value of the whole thing.

Facebook Live Floating Reaction EmojisThe comments were definitely a driving factor for people joining the live video, as well as for keeping people on the video.

Well, the comments AND the reaction emojis continuously floating across the screen! (I thought they were cool!) –>


The Value of the Live Video

Overall, I’m still not sure how I feel about this particular Facebook LIVE experience, a sentiment echoed by many of my fellow watchers, HAHA. (There are now over 3MILLION views of this video!)

Today’s experience with the BuzzFeed Talcum Powder Balloon Facebook Live video was entertaining, enlightening (for me as a social media professional), and still a tiny bit unsettling. WHAT did I just watch? And WHY? I’ll never get those 30 minutes of my life back. I’m not sure I’m OK with that. LOL!

In terms of Facebook LIVE in general, I can see a lot of potential for the feature, and I can see how it could be a waste of time. I think adding VALUE to the viewers’ experience – a solid takeaway, for example –  is going to be a key point for successful brand use of Facebook Live. Entertainment may be part of that value. Real-time conversations can be part of that value. Facebook has some tips about Best Practices for Facebook Live.

It will be interesting to see how businesses adopt Facebook LIVE and how the feature evolves! That will be a process worth watching… unlike the balloon popping. Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • OK – I’ve got to know. Did YOU tune in to the BuzzFeed Talcum Powder Balloon video today? At least 114,999 people OTHER than me were watching. What did you think about it? I’d appreciate your thoughts, here, or on my Raylene Wall Facebook Page.


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Raylene and Jeff Wall
Raylene Wall - Off the Wall Social - Lethbridge, AB

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