I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: social media has taken traditional media (print, radio and television) and turned it on its ear. Since its inception, traditional media hasn’t changed much except in its formatting, whereas social media is always advancing. And now, with the advent of live broadcasting, social media is progressing even further.
Currently the hot trend in social media revolves around live broadcasting. While this brings about the discussion, “Live broadcast where mistakes happen or a video where I can piece together three or four takes to create one fluid, (hopefully) mistake-free product?” let me point out a major deciding factor. With live broadcasting, you have the possibility of audience interaction that can be seen in real time. Yes, you can now interact with your audience and broadcast at the same time. Game changing, right?
There are three major contenders in the live broadcasting arena right now: Blab.im (Blab), Periscope and Meerkat. All three platforms allow for unlimited video lengths and the possibility of interactivity that can be seen in real time. Also, the trio of platforms all use Twitter for real time interaction between the broadcaster(s) and viewers. And that’s where the similarities end.
Blab, in my opinion, is the platform that’s going to bring about the most change, especially for professional use. Of the three new platforms, Blab is the only one with the ability to broadcast from a computer or an iPhone. Another distinction: Blab allows up to 4 people to broadcast on air at once from different locations. These two advantages have already begun to revolutionize the way webinars are conducted. It’s also the only platform to keep broadcasts available for replay for an unlimited amount of time. One (minor) downside to Blab? Right now, it’s only available for iPhone (but plans for an Android app are already in the works).
Twitter-owned Periscope gets major accolades across the Web for its user interface. Its said to be more intuitive and when broadcasting and much less intrusive to the broadcaster than Meerkat’s interface. With Periscope, a follower’s handle pops up onscreen and then fades away while broadcasting while Meerkat keeps a constant stream of followers on the broadcasting interface, thus limiting the broadcaster’s view. Periscope also allows you to choose whether or not your broadcast is private (only your followers can watch/view later), manage location settings, and limit the chat/tweet live stream whereas Meerkat automatically sends out public tweets while you’re broadcasting live. One con to using Periscope however is that once your broadcast is over, it’s viewable for only 24 hours, and only on the app itself or Apple TV.
While Periscope is often made out to be the live broadcasting darling, there are Meerkat features that makes it more attractive for businesses and professionals. Much like Blab, Meerkat allows you to schedule a broadcast ahead of time, which allows for adequate promotion. Also, Meerkat has Cameo, an interactive feature where the broadcaster allows a viewer to take over the stream for up to 60 seconds; contest opportunities in the making right there. On the other hand, a downside to Meerkat is that once you’re done live streaming, your followers cannot go back and watch your broadcast. However, unlike Periscope, Meerkat broadcasts are downloaded to your library and from there, you can share the link and watch it in the app or on the Web. Meerkat also has a smart embed code allowing you to embed your feed elsewhere. It will show your live stream if you’re live, show the date and time of your next upcoming stream if you’re not live, and if you have no upcoming streams scheduled, it displays stats from your last stream. Again, these are distinctions that may make Meerkat more appealing to professionals and businesses.
Live broadcasting isn’t just trendy
As of February 1st, both Facebook and YouTube have jumped on the live broadcasting wagon. You may have even recently noticed that certain pages you follow on Facebook are in your Notifications as being live with videos (for example, I’ve received notifications for xojane.com and HuffPost and Dorothy receives reports from Good Morning America). Both social media giants are still beta testing their live-broadcast offerings, but expect to see them up and running sooner rather than later.