When The Livestream Went Mainstream a la Twitter & Facebook

It’s been reported widely that ‘livestreaming’ video apps are having their moment in the sun! It’s taken a while, but similarly to when social media first captured our zeitgeist a little over a decade ago, livestreaming seems to be tapping into that same need by both the viewer and the citizen journalists who are out there, capturing stories on-the-go.

It’s a disruption of sorts making ‘breaking news’ appear like an out-dated format for relaying what’s going on in the world, while it’s actually going on. Rethinking news delivery as we know it -- is in actuality a deconstruction of the anchor desk. It’s pioneers were Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and now HBO’s John Oliver. A TechCrunch report labeled it as those who are “poised to embrace alternative means of accessing the news in ways that stretch far beyond simply tuning into the ‘evening broadcast.’”

Twitter, Up Periscope!

In March, Twitter preempted Facebook when it unveiled Periscope, a new app that allows users to lifestream from their phones to anyone who wants to watch.

The app, which Twitter reportedly acquired for around $100 million was immediately put to use after its launch, following the collapse of a building in New York City’s East Village, as bystanders streamed live videos of first responders on the scene. At one point, one stream showed more than 600 people tuning in to watch.

Users can now watch Periscope videos through the app on their iPhones, Androids or on their desktop browser. Folks viewing the broadcast can instantly send comments, and you can tap the screen -- the way you would when you “like" a photo on Instagram -- to send a heart to the person broadcasting.

Facebook is worth ‘Mentioning’

Facebook is attempting to ‘one-up’ Twitter with its ‘Mentions’ app by making their ‘live streaming’ functionality a bit more exclusive. Formerly only available to select celebrities, this week it’s now expanding the user base to include ‘verified’ journalists. On September 10th, Facebook reported that verified journalists, experts and other ‘influencers’ will now be able to use it Mentions app.

“We want to make Facebook a better experience for journalists whether it’s used for news-gathering or better connecting with their readers or to drive distribution to their content,” says Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook’s product manager for Mentions.

Facebook is hoping that by broadening the scope of who can use its livestreaming functionality, that more and more journalists of consequence will access its platform for live reporting. If that happens, the news we receive in our newsfeed could become richer—and more real-time—while increasing the amount of hours per day we spend on the world’s largest and most prolific social network.

All swimming upstream . . .

So as one streams, others will follow. With disruptions like this, it doesn't take long for competition to start lining up. This year alone both the new start-up Meerkat and the Grand-daddy of videos YouTube are also taking livestreaming seriously by launching their own livestream platforms.

And as we approach the next presidential election, it will be interesting to see which one of these competitors becomes the ‘go-to’ platform preferred by the Democrats and the Republicans.

President Obama, who unfortunately has to sit this one out wrote recently that livestreaming video services will have the ability to change the next presidential election, and will be able to do to "television what blogs did to newspapers by removing many of the financial and structural advantages of legacy media institutions.”

Can’t get much more mainstream than that!