Livestreaming has been a huge topic of conversation in our newsroom this week. First, Meerkat. Now, Periscope. And as quickly as we started a plan for Meerkat, now we’ve replaced it with Periscope because it’s better and seems to have so much more potential being owned by Twitter. And that’s hard because for the quick introduction I had to Meerkat, I really enjoyed it.
I brought up Meerkat to our breaking news editor the morning after it was released. A big part of my job as social media editor is to recognize trends and see if they have practical application in the newsroom. And being a journalist for more than 20 years, this seemed to be a given: If you can bring readers/viewers the news before anyone else, you win. It used to be that TV and radio had the monopoly on being first. Even with a website and traditional social media like Twitter and Facebook, there’s still a story to write and a link to share. With livestreaming, you can press a button wherever you are and instantly share everything you see with your audience. It’s like a dream.
I work at a newspaper that still thinks like a newspaper. So this type of social media revolution – yes, it’s a revolution – is hard for everyone to accept and understand. But that’s why testing new tools and learning to implement them into our workflow matters so much.
Goodbye, livetweeting. Hello, livestreaming.
My point to everyone in the newsroom – they might be starting to get tired of hearing me repeat it – is that we have the potential to be first in ways we couldn’t be before. We have ways to brand ourselves as a breaking news powerhouse. I think we are already, but there’s always room to grow. Case in point: I was in a meeting when the explosion occurred in New York City. 3 minutes after it happened, I saw the first of many Periscopes from at or near the scene. When I got back to my desk, CNN had picked it up. But I knew about it 3 minutes in. Everyone else out here knew about it about 40 minutes later. A lot happened in those 37 minutes, and a newsroom fully immersed in livestreaming knows that. And more importantly, so do its readers and followers.
While livestreaming is far from new, I think it’s going to change the way we approach social media. Whether you are in journalism and use it for breaking news and events or are a brand and you want to do something off-the-cuff and spur of the moment with your clients, the sky is the limit here. I’ve had a livestream on pretty much the entire week, and as it continues to evolve I think people are going to expect some sort of livestreaming element in their social media.
I’m looking forward to seeing how you embrace it. Make no mistake, embrace is the right word. Livestreaming has always existed in some format, but in the age of social media and advanced technology, this is where it takes over. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all the other platforms – except for Google Plus because that’s hanging on by a thread – will still be an important part of a strong social media plan. But ignoring livestreaming is something no one can afford to do.
That said, download the Periscope app here. And make sure you follow me. And when you watch my streams, give me lots and lots of hearts. Hearts mean love and love is important. You’ll see what I mean in no time.
So make sure you have a big data plan. And then get out there and livestream.