A couple weeks ago, I wrote this blog post glorifying Facebook for adding more ways to interact with content. Instead of just “liking” a status or a photo, you can now do things such as “love” it, “wow” it, or “haha” it. How crazy would it be if I told you that Facebook has recently added something even cooler than that?
Facebook now gives us the option to broadcast live video. Called Facebook Live, users can now utilize their phones to live stream anything they please onto their profiles.
Believe it or not, the very limited rollout for Facebook Live started this past August. A few lucky celebrities were given special access to become pioneers of live video streams on Facebook. In December, the social media giant started extending the privileges to a larger audience. Still, only a small portion of users had the capability to go live. Last month, however, the feature started to become available to brands as well as a large percentage of the media.
Our official Coastal Carolina University Facebook page was included in this February activation bonanza. We suddenly had the power to experiment with a feature that many others on the planet didn’t. Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, I utilized Facebook Live as soon as an appropriate time came about. When our baseball team opened up the season in a fully renovated Springs Brooks Stadium, I knew it was time to go live. I streamed the pregame festivities and the first inning. I literally learned as I streamed…
The power of the new feature hit me fast. As I filmed from my phone, people who had “liked” our page jumped on the broadcast and immediately started commenting. You see, when you do a Facebook Live broadcast your audience can interact with you in real time by writing messages via the comment feature (very similar to Periscope). Our audience, who had never seen a Facebook Live broadcast before, was mesmerized. That debut stream garnered 660 live viewers. After any live broadcast concludes, the video will stay up on your page for others to enjoy if you so desire. That initial video now has over 5,400 views.
Over the past couple weeks, I have used the Facebook Live feature in the classrooms I visit for our award-winning “Inside the Classroom” social media campaign. Each time I have used the streaming feature it has been well-received from our audience. Facebook Live is definitely still in that phase where not everyone is fully aware of it. Our fans will jump in on the live stream, act a little confused at first, and then proclaim that it is the coolest thing ever.
Yesterday I did my first personal Facebook Live broadcast! In typical Brent Reser fashion, I streamed my weekly Sunday Wal-Mart shopping spree. As I cruised through the aisles I watched with glee (and some fear) as my Facebook friends, some who happened to be completely random, jumped on my broadcast. I tried to keep my stream somewhat interesting as my viewers asked about the empty Wal-Mart shelves, my shopping choices, and how I was able to broadcast live. I have to say that the first time using Facebook Live on my personal account was exhilarating!
For reasons unbeknownst to me, 48 of my Facebook friends jumped on the stream to watch me shop. As of this evening, the video has now been watched over 240 times. To be honest, I don’t even think my personal YouTube channel has that many total views combined.
As some of you know, I am a Periscope advocate. So what do I think about its new high profile rival? (Make no mistake about it, Facebook launched Live to directly counter Periscope). Well, I think Facebook responded with a very strong answer. With Facebook Live the videos can last forever, they can be viewed on a computer, and they can be easily watched by people you know. It is a crapshoot on who is going to watch your Periscope videos and it is simply a rinky-dink app compared to the powerful new Facebook tool. As the feature becomes even more available to the masses I think it will take over the live streaming world.
Don’t have the capability to live stream yet? Hang in there, you should have the option soon! I think you will see that it was worth the wait. Don’t Blink.