The social media-motivated, hyper-aware state in which every university student exists – even at their drunkest and in the most compromising situations – was amplified with the livestreaming of Harper Havoc over Facebook to 972 viewers. The hour-and-a-half-long livestream was posted unbeknownst to many of the people caught on camera. The stream appeared on the DJ’s promotional Facebook page.
JB Tambeau, known under the alias DJ HOUSEPARTY, explained that he used the livestream as an opportunity to self-promote, self-improve and reach those unable to attend the party.
The livestream, which happened during the second half of the party, went largely unnoticed, even by Harper’s executive team, until several days following Harper Havoc.
Harper resident Louis Sobol said that Harper Havoc was a great experience filled with “drunken trysts,” as is typical of any residence party.
Favouring the Harper audience over the crowd at a music festival he played at this summer, Tambeau said, “a lot of people were having a really good time” and that “it was one of [his] best shows so far.”
The possibility that these moments may be broadcasted live to audiences – many of whom are not even attendees of the party – might cause partygoers to enjoy themselves less. Actions caught on tape could have serious consequences for those being filmed if family members, superiors or potential employers view the broadcast.
Tambeau emphasized his perspective in choosing to livestream the event.
“The livestream is just something I do,” he said. He has used it to share his work and let others join in on the parties he DJs. This was particularly relevant, as Harper Havoc ticket sales were so successful. In fact, Tambeau said, “they sold out so quickly my girlfriend didn’t even get a ticket.”
Tambeau said that the camera was angled in such a way as to maintain some level of anonymity for those on tape. The video feed mostly captured shadowy silhouettes of students from the shoulders up. He also noted that those who came near enough to the booth were informed of the livestream.
Facebook Live allows viewers to post comments during the livestream – Tambeau himself commented on the video. At least three of the comments on the stream referred to a couple kissing, unaware of being filmed.
Adam Teskey, one of Harper’s social chairs, said that while he does not necessarily agree with the use of a livestream on its own, the comments were what made it cross the line from interactive to inappropriate. “[The comments] are what did it for me,” he said.
The fact that the majority of partygoers were unaware of the livestream raises concerns of consent and privacy. Livestreams cannot be edited, which can place those recorded in a vulnerable position. However, the inability to edit contributes to a more genuine, immersive experience for those unable to attend.
Students must decide whether the value they place on privacy is greater than their fear of missing out.