Last Thursday, Candace Payne walked out of a Kohl's department store and joyfully unboxed a talking Chewbacca mask while streaming it on Facebook Live. More than 150 million views later, Payne is a star.
The Texas mother of two spent the past week visiting Good Morning America, Lucasfilm's San Francisco campus, and Facebook headquarters. And she's racked up more than 700,000 Facebook followers in the process.
"My world is officially the weirdest thing in the entire galaxy," Payne said in a subsequent Facebook Live stream this week.
During Payne's visit to Facebook, she spent a few minutes talking with BuzzFeed News about her viral success and the source of her contagious joy (the full interview is posted above). "When you really know who you are, you don’t have to impress anybody. Not even yourself. You can laugh at yourself and it’s okay. It really is," she said.
Asked why she chose Facebook over other live streaming platforms, Payne attributed it to the network.
"That other streaming service didn’t have as many friends as this one," she said, referring to the Twitter-owned Periscope. "Facebook already has built-in followers, and friends and family. So, when they came out with [live streaming], it was just a natural transition to say, ‘Well why won’t I use that? I mean, everybody that I know is already on there.’"
Asked if it juiced Payne's reach in any way, Facebook said her video wasn't treated any differently in its system.
"We think it really resonated with people because it was such a joyful, authentic, and funny live video," a Facebook spokesperson said. "It was like discovering a breath of fresh air right in News Feed, and it was really hard not to laugh out loud along with Candace."
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at email@example.com.
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