This week, I want to talk about the live streaming battle taking place in the social sphere. Live streaming isn’t new – there’s Vine and Instagram – but over the last month, I’ve observed with keen interest the showdown between Meerkat and Periscope. What I was more curious to learn about was how users of this live streaming video technology are choosing to use the platforms. In some ways, I’m reminded of the very early days of Twitter. I mean, really, does anyone actually care that you are now drinking your second cup of coffee on a Sunday morning or that you are wandering around the streets of Los Angeles?
Before I talk about the user experience and feature differences between the two platforms, let me share my thoughts about some of the benefits that live streaming video provides.
Conference participation – during Social Media Marketing World various people were live streaming many of the conference sessions. I thought it cool that I could see Guy Kawasaki on stage sharing his thoughts with the audience, and I felt like I was there.
Training – these live streaming platforms provide opportunities for quick, short bursts of training tips. For example, I could talk about the how to of social selling and actually show people live how to put my tips into practical application.
Expanded audience – people may not necessarily be following you on LinkedIn or Twitter yet, but they could be exposed to one of your live streaming events and you end up connecting and engaging that way first.
Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.
PUSH NOTIFICATIONS: Streams are pushed to your followers in real time via push notifications.
NO PLAYBACK: The beauty of Meerkat is that once your broadcast is done, it’s done. All live and there are no reruns. However, as you might expect, the geeky types have figured out how to create apps to address that issue.
RE-STREAM: If I happen to be watching a particular stream that I like, I can re-stream that content to any of my followers in real time.
SCHEDULE: Unlike Periscope, you can scheduled broadcasts in advance and distribute notification of an upcoming event to your subscribers. Streams of your own broadcasts can be kept locally on your phone.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR ANDROID: And, in breaking news, Meerkat just beat Periscope to the Android store and is available for download now the Google Play store.
When you go live with Periscope, you will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Personally, I’m not a big fan of this feature. Seems a little junior high schoolish to me. Some of the other features of the platform include:
REPLAY: When your broadcast is over, viewers can watch later if you make your broadcast available after your program is over. But be aware that the playback experience only lasts for 24 hours. .
PRIVATE: If you want to broadcast only to specific people, you can press the lock icon before going live and choose who you want to invite to your broadcast. Those are the only folks who are going to see your broadcast. I could see this being cool if you wanted to bring together…say…the clients in your sales coaching group and you just want to do a mini-tutorial on a new approach to social selling.
TWITTER: You can choose to share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter by tapping the bird icon before you start broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a link so that your Twitter followers can watch on the web (or in the app).
MANAGE NOTIFICATIONS: Periscope will suggest people for you to follow based on your Twitter network. You can always follow new people, or unfollow them if you don’t want to be notified when they go live. You can also adjust notification preferences in Periscope Settings (in Profile).
HEARTS: Periscope keeps track of how many hearts you get from your viewers. The more hearts, the higher you get in the “Most Loved” list. I guess this is the equivalent of Facebooks Likes, but I find the heart thing extremely distracting during a broadcast and it often cuts off the Twitter messages that viewers are posting. I want to watch the people conducting the broadcast and engage in the chat conversations. I don’t want to see a bunch of hearts floating all over the screen.
Live streaming has tons of potential but aside from some of the mundane broadcasts being posted out there… news flash… some reality IS NOT that interesting, there are also legal and safety risks to consider.
On the legal front, you cannot just stream anything live that you care to. At that conference, if you are streaming people speaking and their presentations, you are breaking copyright law, not to mention that you need someone’s permission before you film them publicly. I encourage you to read a recent MacWorld article on the topic.
From a safety point of view, I guess I need to be the one to point out the obvious. STOP the madness of doing these live streams when driving your car. Yes, people are doing it. If all someone was doing was talking while driving, that would still pose a safety risk, but it isn’t as bad as when the driver is actually answering questions from people chatting in during the broadcast. Exactly how are you reading the questions without taking your eyes off the road? This is completely irresponsible behavior, and I hope we don’t read about some horrific accident – during a live stream – before people finally wake up to how stupid and dangerous this practice is.
Okay…that’s a wrap for this time. Go live stream something and tell me about your experience!