May 13, 2016

Facebook Live was made available widely in April, and already, a curious subset of live-streams are dominating the genre: The spectacle video. As Noah Kulwin wrote for Recode, it’s “turning journalists into bad ‘Jackass’ copycats.”

Frankly, Johnny Knoxville and the “Jackass” crew were a lot funnier than stunts like these, and there wasn’t a lot of anxiety about the future of media palpable in the background.

On Thursday, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank greeted Facebook Live viewers as he prepared to eat a newspaper. It started off with a kind of formal introduction.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Facebook universe, and other … multimedia, I’m coming to you live from The Washington Post test kitchen,” he said.

“I am going to eat my words, but perhaps never before has somebody consumed the news in just such a way as I am doing now.”

“It’s historic,” said chef Victor Albisu, who stood beside Milbank.

For the next one hour and 14 minutes, viewers watched Milbank fulfill the bet he made that he’d eat the newspaper if Donald Trump got the GOP nomination.

Here are a few other experiments. A few feel like they could also be performance art. (Also, a few are intentionally ridiculous, but some, we’re not so sure):

BuzzFeed exploded that watermelon:

TIME editors did a Bath & Body Works sniff test.

And journalists at Canada’s National Post ate processed cheese.

In March, we wrote about four news organizations that were experimenting with Facebook Live, including NPR and BuzzFeed.

‘It may not be as exciting as waiting for a baby eagle to hatch, but the spontaneous nature of live video is really most of its allure,’ KXLY-TV’s Melissa Luck said. ‘Also, it has given viewers a chance to interact directly with our reporters and anchors, and it has been beneficial for both sides of that video stream to have that interaction.’

We also wrote about 10 tips if you’re ready to try Facebook Live yourself. They include: interact, honor the user’s time and ask yourself why you’re livestreaming.

When you livestream, there has to be a reason why people should watch. What are you showing me that I would want to witness live rather than seeing in a delayed but less time-consuming way?

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a piece from The Atlantic that highlights a Facebook Live session watching paint dry. The Facebook Live video is not from The Atlantic, as we reported. We apologize for the error. The video has been removed but you can find it here. Thanks to Robinson Meyer for pointing it out.

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