We won’t begin this article by mentioning the bizarre times we find ourselves in, we promise (and we know we just did). However, in good news for the US graduation class of 2020, who have had their graduation ceremonies either cancelled or indefinitely postponed, Facebook has announced that it will host a virtual ceremony for all graduating students that will feature the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Miley Cyrus.
The event – potentially the largest of its kind, ever – will feature a commencement speech Oprah Winfrey, as well as other speeches and attendance by Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, and Simone Biles. As of May 11th, Instagram’s primary account (@instagram) will begin hosting graduation-themed material such as senior superlatives and portrait showcases, while the platform itself will begin to feature a graduation countdown sticker, celebratory sticker pack, music stickers that connect to graduation songs, and new AR effects.
While the news may seem like simple altruism on Facebook’s part, the firm isn’t without its own motives – the event will be used to demonstrate its group conference calling mechanism in the form of the newly minted Messenger Rooms, which aims to take the fight directly to Zoom. With luck, Facebook might not only entice a new cohort of users, but encourage other event organisers to create their own conferences and events in a remote or in an entirely online format.
The bid is an unusual product launch for Facebook, which has seldom ever leveraged particular events to market new features. However, with the social media site recently having introduced a new design as well as squaring up toe-to-toe with the likes of Zoom and TikTok, the field has never quite been so competitive.
What are your thoughts? Would you attend a virtual graduation ceremony if one were offered in South Africa? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!