Facebook’s decision to launch a new ‘Live’ service has prompted me to talk about a fascinating issue here on the Htet Tayza blog; the marriage of video streaming technologies and social media.
History of streaming
The act of “streaming” a video involves watching a clip online in real-time, as opposed to downloading a video file. Streaming used to be impossible, but as the internet became a global phenomenon technology companies caught up, creating new technologies which allowed users to watch videos online.
The last few years have seen streaming becoming an increasingly prevalent feature of social media. Where once you could do nothing more than provide a link to a video on your social media profile, now you can post a clip in its entirety. This allows users to watch your film without ever leaving the comfort of their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile.
Watch it live
These advances gave users the ability to watch pre-recorded footage, but they stopped short of allowing people to glimpse real events as they unfolded. However, social media sites have now developed a raft a features and apps that allow people to watch live footage.
There is a growing list of these technologies. At present they include Twitter’s ‘Periscope’ app, the ‘Meerkat’ app and even an app called ‘My Eye,’ which has been backed by soccer superstar David Beckham. Facebook were slow to catch up, but now they’ve jumped on the bandwagon by launching a live-streaming feature of their very own.
In a blog post called ‘Connect with Public Figures Through Live,’ Facebook announced that they have developed a live-streaming service which is appropriately called ‘Facebook Live.’ It allows public figures e.g. celebrities, to share live videos from ‘Facebook Mentions,’ a feature which according to the blog post “makes it easy for athletes, musicians, politicians and other influencers to talk with their fans and each other.”
The feature is designed to present users with an interactive experience. They can comment on, like or share the clip whilst they’re viewing the live broadcast. The post added that “Live is an immersive and authentic way to connect with the public figures you care about, in real-time. If you don’t catch the live broadcast, you can also watch the video later on the public figure’s Page.”
Progression of social media
The release of Facebook Live shows how streaming is fast becoming the next logical progression of social media. Sites like Facebook have been such a colossal success because they allow users to share their lives with other people. These apps and features take this one step further, allowing users to experience the significant moments of other people’s lives, at the very moment these experiences are happening.