Why am I (A) Live? A look at the Live Video trend
Catchy title, isn’t it? No, I’m not questioning my existence on this metaphysical plane of gravimetric, yet isolated, light-infused wave length. I’m completely content with being stardust. I’m asking the REAL questions: What’s up with this “Live” video thing on my Facebook feed? Should I be doing it? Am I wasting my time? Ah, I’m coming up as a viewer, scroll away!!! Isn’t it only bored people with way too much makeup time on their hands that present Live Videos? (I actually really enjoy makeup tutorials- don’t throw mascara at me).
Let’s research whether or not it’s worth our time to consider Live video recording/supporting. Join me on this journey down ‘real-time’ video lane. In Asia, this is already a huge phenomenon (Live-Streaming Apps Flourish in China). People will ‘gift’ streamers money and prizes for eating large quantities of food while being timed. Additionally, since pornography is banned by the government in China- you can also imagine where and what a lot of young people are streaming and making a ton of illegal cash. It’s also putting a substantial dent in the economy. The question is: why are all these people recording themselves doing, seemingly, mindless things? And why are people watching- let alone payingthem?
This article states that it’s human nature to enjoy instant gratification. “Live” video is just that- instant connection with the individual you are watching. On the flip side, the videographer will also feel satisfaction knowing someone is watching and can respond quickly to anyone commenting.
There are a few different popular “Live video” processors in North America. Some of the social media sites that have integrated “Live video” with their services are: Facebook, Twitch, Youtube, Periscope, and Instragram. Anyone can use these tools. Anyone can go live using their own personal accounts or their business accounts- for free!
I’ve narrowed down the top “Live” video streaming sites for social media users in the Southwest:
Since Facebook released Live Streaming in April, 2016 maybe you’ve seen your Uncle try to show everyone where he is hiking, or watched your friend trying to sell their furniture, or even commented on the local makeup guru about a lipstick she is selling. The practical use of “the Facebook Live” is apparent. Everyday people seem more than willing to accept this communication tool into their lives. However, it’s negatives have taken the media by storm (Ex. 12-year-old girl takes her own life on Facebook Live, and police can’t remove the video- and also Four Teens Held in Connection With Kidnapping After ‘Facebook Live’ Torture Video Airs). While Facebook Live is an amazing revolution in human communication (I think more than most Facebook users realize) it has some kinks to work out. Facebook advertises: “Show your friends what you’re up to!” Accompanied with a video of a girl singing to her closest friends- and a family showing how funny their baby toddler is when he’s eating. I see Facebook as much more useful than that- such as live feed of local Government Town Hall meetings, or up-to-speed reports about traffic.
First and foremost, Twitch is used by gamers to showcase their ‘mad skills’ and chat to like-minded people. Recently, Twitch opened a ‘Creative’ category where artists could present their progress artworks to a live audience. It’s relatively easy to do when you have mild technical knowledge. What is interesting about Twitch is that you can gain subscribers and followers every time you go live. Your Subscribers pay money to you for a nominal monthly fee and get prizes/membership perks. While Followers just get notifications that you have gone live to their inboxes. Many gamers, artists, and other streamers have successfully made a living wage off of this tool. They go to Conventions, they have Merchandise, Offices, even a subscriber base larger than most YouTubers. This is a scientific paper that goes more in-depth about Twitch (for example, the fact that it attracts over 35 million new visitors a month).
Instagram Live Videos:
I have no experience with this yet, other than knowing it completely swallows any and all bandwidth you had on your mobile data plan. (Instagram launches disappearing Live video and messages link).
Twitter Merged with Periscope:
Without any research or source I’m going to assume that the ‘Live’ idea spawned from Twitter. Back in 2010-2015 it became a popular trend for TV shows to be live online or television. Viewers could #hashtag in their responses to certain scenes during the time. People still do this, just look at the Season 4 finale of Sherlock on Twitter account: @masterpiecepbs – They live streamed the episode from their website and people tuned in on twitter with responses #SherlockPBS to character’s actions. It’s like watching a movie where you don’t have to listen to the annoying, but passionate, commentator next to you unless you want to. So it’s only natural that you should be able to present a Live video from your twitter account! I’ve really only seen businesses (like the NFL) utilize this and had a poor experience with buffering and quality. Anyone else have better experiences?
It is inevitable that “Live” video will become more and more popular. With cameras and phones becoming quicker and higher resolution, it is only a matter of time until you’re watching your grandson’s recital across the country. For mobile small businesses you could essentially have a small population of fans following you around at all times. Is that wrong? Is this just another way technology is stealing away ‘human connection’ and experiencing the wonderful outside world? If humans are so hardwired for instant gratification and “Live” video satisfies that craving; is it truly an improper use of our time? During Live videos not only is the presenter a focal point of the event- but the chat is the dominant subject matter. ‘Viewers’ or ‘Chatters’ can speak with the subject in the video as well as everyone who is interested in the video. The rise in the sharing of ideas (and laughter) will be exponential.
And everyone will know what time a bald eagle hatched her babies…