After announcing its upcoming virtual graduation event last month, Facebook has now unveiled the full program of events, along with the celebrity presenters that will be on hand to help toast the Class of 2020.
As explained by Facebook:
"Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak will co-host our multi-hour commencement broadcast #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020, on May 15 at 11AM PT/2PM ET. Today we are announcing an introduction by Sheryl Sandberg to a commencement address from Oprah Winfrey and a performance from Miley Cyrus of her hit song, “The Climb.” Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles will offer words of wisdom for the Class of 2020."
While students are not able to celebrate this major milestone in person due to COVID-19, Facebook's hoping to provide some sense of occasion through its online program, which everybody, everywhere will be able to engage with.
The live-streamed events will be available on Facebook Watch, with highlights to be shared on Instagram, as well as on contributors’ social media profiles.
In preparation for the event, Facebook has also launched a new mini-site, which includes tips on how to prepare and participate in the celebration from home.
In addition to this, Facebook's also adding some new, themed AR effects for Facebook and Instagram Stories.
Instagram has begun this week with a new senior quote template for use in Stories.
There'll also be custom stickers for both Facebook and Instagram Stories, while Facebook's also releasing a curated list of songs "to make the perfect soundtrack for the graduation moments people share to their stories".
And on another front, Facebook's also looking to provide assistance to graduates, who will likely be faced with a more confronting workforce and higher educational landscape due to COVID-19.
As explained by Facebook:
"To support grads, we will launch Community Help in the US in coming weeks, for college students and high school seniors headed to college. Students, teachers and alumni can offer and request assistance with career, housing, moral support, fitness and supplies."
It's impossible, of course, to replicate the in-person experience of graduation events, but this is a key milestone for young people, and it's important that we do look at ways in which we can provide support - and indeed, facilitate celebration, of their achievements.
Facebook and YouTube are both running virtual graduation events, and given their combined reach, both will no doubt prove popular - which could provide opportunities for campaign tie-ins, or just simply a platform to participate in the broader hype, and get behind these initiatives in support of young students.
The COVID-19 lockdowns are difficult on everyone, in different ways, and while the economic impacts are severe, it's important that we also consider the developmental impacts that they could have on impressionable youth, who are still learning who they are and what they want, and are missing out on important social contact to help them in this respect.
Facebook's graduation event could be a great opportunity to put this front of mind, and support the graduating class however you can.
You can read more about Facebook's Graduation 2020 event here.