Live Streaming – Time to Face the Camera!
Live streaming video apps have been the fastest growing sector in social media this year. It started in February 2015 with the launch of the Meerkat app, not the meerkats from the well-known advertising campaign we all associate with meerkats in the UK, but an easy-to-use iPhone app that lets a person on one side of the phone stream a live video feed of whatever they’re looking at or stream a video selfie.
After a meteoric rise, Meerkat was declared officially dead in September 2016 – RIP!
This was swiftly followed by Twitter’s acquisition and launch of Periscope in March 2015. Periscope proved very popular for Twitter, logging 1 million users within its first 10 days. To solidify that popularity, Twitter also announced it was making tweaks that would limit the reach of Meerkat.
Thus started the battle for domination which Periscope seems to be clearly winning.
What is Periscope?
Periscope’s platform allows you to share your life in real time no matter where you are and to anyone who stumbles on your broadcast who wants to watch or is invited to watch by other viewers. It is easy to use and completely free. You simply download the app from either iTunes App store or the Google Play store, sign up and sign in. You can now use Periscope from any mobile device.
From the viewer’s perspective, the app notifies you when one of your followers or someone you choose to follow is broadcasting live. You simply tune in and watch. During the live stream, you can “like” a video. Periscope also lets you comment on videos and leave feedback, making them an interactive experience.
One of the key attributes of Periscope is its simplicity of use. As the one doing the recording, you simply turn the camera on when you want to broadcast, and then turn it off when you’re done. It’s that easy.
Once you’re finished with the broadcast you can choose to save the video to your phone and upload it later to your website or social media account or leave it on Periscope for 24 hours in case your viewers missed the live version. Leaving it on Periscope allows time for your viewers to leave feedback.
From the viewer’s perspective, the app notifies you when one of your followers or someone you choose to follow is broadcasting live and during the live stream, you can “like” a video. Periscope also lets you comment on videos and leave feedback, making them an interactive experience.
The Periscope app makes live broadcasting and video recording easy for almost everyone. It saves you the time and the hassle of traditional video recording. You don’t have to be tied down to your computer or your video equipment to record. You can spontaneously send a scope from wherever you are or share a breaking news story.
Periscope is a great tool for business owners. It’s a great way to build a sense of intimacy and personal relationships between your viewers and your brand. You can use Periscope to deliver announcements, show behind the scenes action or let your customers know what’s coming up in your business. As with all social media platforms, you do need to remember to abide by Periscope’s terms and conditions.
Along comes Blab.im
Just when things appeared to be clear-cut, Blab.im launched in April. While it is still in beta testing it does allow you to stream video interviews via mobile, tablet or desktop and enables a public video chat among four participants at a time. This is a key differentiator from Periscope or Meerkat. It also makes Blab a clear competitor to Google Hangouts and is being seen as a serious threat.
Is it for you?
Live streaming video is not for everyone but if you like being in front of a camera it’s certainly worth trying. One of the main issues for potential ‘scopers’ or viewers in the UK is the patchy mobile and broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas.
For me personally, I know I need to bite the bullet and face the camera, but I do have to confess that it’s not something I feel overly comfortable with though I can see the benefits in terms of building a personal relationship. How about you? Are you prepared to give live streaming a try? I will be putting together step-by-step instructions on how to start as I get going myself. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.
A shorter version of this article appeared previously in the Bury Free Press.