JUNE 14, 2017:
In a blog post announcing its new features, Facebook revealed that Live videos draw more than ten times as many comments as regular videos, confirming real-time content’s importance as a tool for increasing engagement. So it comes as no surprise that the company’s attention is on building interaction around livestreams.
In response to Facebook Live expanding to all (and not just verified) profiles and pages, Business Insider suggested the brand was ‘making live video more like FaceTime’ mixed with elements of the multi-user video chat app, Houseparty.
How does it work? It is basically a means of collaborating off -the-cuff. Mashable explains: ‘Instead of just pestering your friends with questions during a broadcast and reading their responses in the comments, you can actually pull their own stream in on a new window and interact with them on screen. If your friend doesn’t want to join, though, they can turn you down.’
Meanwhile, Facebook Live Chat With Friends, which is being tested and due for release ‘more broadly’ later this summer, allows users to start private chats with friends during a livestream, while still being able to jump between and engage in the public conversation. Plus, this converts to a Messenger group after the video ends.
The announcement comes at an interesting time, as Facebook is facing numerous controversies surrounding Live videos posted to the social network, both of the fake and frightening variety. In addition to this, competitor Twitter has also been experimenting with its own new features for live videos.
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Last month, the company announced an exclusive deal with Live Nation to live stream its concerts. For the second of these outings, Live Nation tweeted a reminder to watch the concert live with a button prompting users to set up an alert. There was also a branded timeline that grouped tweets about the event into one landing page. Clearly, both came as an attempt to create a sense of occasion around the event.
This is all part of CEO Jack Dorsey’s plans for Twitter to reinvent itself as a video-streaming platform. But it’s a strategy that some have called into question, with The New Yorker suggesting ‘it seems to fight against what makes the platform tick.’
‘Twitter is short-form, real-time, and text-based,’ writes Om Malik. ‘It’s built for instant alerts and rapid consumption. It is an ideal system for delivering sips of information from an abundant stream. But the live-video effort forces you not only to leave the stream but also to set aside time to watch… The question is, does any Twitter user want this?’
Instead, Malik urges the company to focus on developing its photo and media-sharing features, evolving it to ‘become a more visual, more friendly, and yet less angry place.’ This is quite different to the initially positive reaction when Twitter launched its live video API earlier this year – TechCrunch even called the platform ‘the natural home for live video.’ But is that still the case?
The difference is Facebook’s features play to its strengths: Community. Live With Friends and Live Chat With Friends is all about user-to-user connections, while Twitter appears to be moving towards more brand-to-user video experiences. Either way, it can’t be ignored that both are capitalizing on the rise of real-time.
What do you think about these livestreaming updates, and will you use it? Share in the comments!
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