Is the Future of Social Media in Live Streaming?

is live streaming the future of social media

Live streaming has recently been catapulted back into the limelight through the work of streaming apps like Periscope. While live-streaming is in no way a new concept, the ease of accessibility that has come from new technology has helped elevate it to new heights of popularity and given ita new lease of life. Now it looks to pave the way for a new era of Social Media Content...

Live streaming has been around in one capacity or another for many years; from webcam culture, to Google hangouts, right through to streaming sites like Livestream and Ustream. Therefore, its recent rise to popularity derives not from it being a new concept. Whereas a great deal of Social Media trends revolve around new features or advancements in technology, that cannot be the case for live streaming.

What’s helped to make live streaming so popular in recent months is how effortless it has become. Previous attempts by live streaming sites to integrate across Social Networks and a great deal of effort had to be made by businesses to encourage clicks by users. New apps however are Social Networks within their own right. Many have even been made with integration in mind, for example Twitter have now made Periscope streams viewable direct from Twitter timelines. These apps have also come at a time when the technology required to access them are readily available - smartphone users in the UK are expected to rise to 42.4 million this year.

Smartphone technology and Social Networking have overlapped to create the perfect environment in which live streaming can really thrive.

What’s so exciting about real life?

Advancements in live streaming have presented users with this perception that we are stepping into a new age of the instant - when in reality we already had instant. Live streaming gives users an instant snapshot into another world. By making use of smartphone technology, new live streaming doesn’t suffer from the restraints tethered of its predecessors. The fact that these streams can now be delivered from virtually anywhere means that those real-life snapshots can begin to be richer and more enticing. It also allows users to participate in the bigger picture and is the perfect tool for raising awareness of causes and social issues.

Not only is it exciting for viewers, it’s exciting for users as well. The integration between networks means that users have easy access to an audience for their stream so that they haven’t got to put in the legwork promoting them. It’s no surprise that Periscope now has over 10 million reported registered users.

It should be exciting for businesses as well. A whole host of Digital Marketing voices have predicted that 2016 is going to be the age of video content on Social Media, and live streaming is the epitome of video content.  Not only does it allows companies to multiply their reach through user-generated content, it’s the perfect Social Media Management tool for humanising and building your brand - find out more on how to do that here.

It’s still a work in progress

New live streaming is not without its kinks. Alongside a whole host new and unique privacy concerns, including inadvertently filming others in public broadcasts, live streaming apps have come under scrutiny for reports of bullying and harassment by some users. There are also some issues with usability in busy streams, such as time delays and limits to the amount of users who are able to comment. However, as with any new technology that quickly gains a whole host of new followers, growing pains are to be expected.

Is the future of Social Media in Live Streaming?

The sudden growth in popularity of live streaming suggests that it will continue to play an increasingly important part across Social Networks. Periscope is likely to play an integral role in the growth of Twitter this year and no doubt we will see some updates to Facebook’s current live streaming service. Larger Social Networks have seen how popular live streaming can be and they have the capacity to really refine their new services before they roll them out - so it's certainly something that should be watched this year.

Photo Source: By Raimond Spekking [CC BY SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Editor - 

Mark is our resident content marketing specialist, what this guy doesn't know isn't worth knowing. His biggest passion is for enacting positive social change through media. In his spare time he is also a keen comedy writer and singer.

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