2 April 2015 By Northern Lights
Two new contenders crashed onto the social media scene last week – Periscope and Meerkat. Both are live video streaming apps and their arrival is already being hailed as a revolutionary moment in the way we communicate with customers and with each other.
Unsurprisingly, in the fast-paced world of social media, Meerkat already appears to be falling by the wayside and Periscope has already been updated to respond to customer demand. Periscope is already seeing double the number of users to Meerkat, which is falling in popularity.
Both have great potential for businesses, but for the purpose of this blog I’m going to concentrate on Periscope as it appears to be the clear winner. It’s currently only available on Apple devices, but an Android version is just around the corner.
Live video streaming isn’t new – in fact it’s been around for more than a decade – and many are doing little more than raising one weary eyebrow at the latest claims of a seismic shift in communications. However, this time it is different.
Taking social media to a new level
Firstly, this live video streaming technology is much more accessible. A quarter of the global population now has a smartphone and they all can access these free services. Secondly, social media has become second nature and everyone is now more than happy to share every moment of their life through a variety of public platforms.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Periscope has been created by Twitter and it ties directly in to your existing following, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch again. By making use of your existing community, you have far greater potential for making a splash with your live content.
Crucially, the minute you start filming a live event, anyone can access your video feed through your Twitter stream and they can also interact with you in a live environment by asking questions or sharing comments.
These factors have never come together before and many are already arguing that this could be a tipping point in the live streaming of events, including Hootsuite chief executive Ryan Holmes. Investors in Twitter also seem to agree.
A game-changer in global communications
From the perspective of the entire community, think about the role social media has played in global events like the Arab Spring or in sharing the hidden truths of secretive nations. With Periscope, people on the ground can share these incidents as they happen and play a role in transforming political landscapes.
On a lighter note, Periscope also has great potential for businesses. From sharing key moments, speeches or events to holding live discussions with customers or seeking ideas and instant feedback from the public, live video streaming in such an instant, portable and easy way could have a major impact on the way we engage our key audiences.
It also has further implications for staff management. I’ve written before about the implications of wearable technology, but having staff live streaming events in the workplace could have great benefits and huge consequences. While it will be invaluable for helping teams to share in celebrations and key moments, it could also see company secrets unwittingly revealed. Check your social media policies and update them where necessary.
The next level in live video communications
Ultimately, this is about the next level in video communications. Gone are the lengthy waits as you upload content to Youtube or grapple with Skype or Google Hangouts to bring multiple people to one conversation.
With this, you can engage your entire team, community or audience with one swipe of a button and make sure your message is heard around the world.
Granted it will mean we’re going to see even more videos of cats online, but the rise of Periscope will be seen as the pivotal moment where social media and video communications met and finally understood each other.