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The Rise of Live Social Media

Live video streaming on social media has skyrocketed as of late, with major players such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram adopting the function to great success.

The concept of live media is, of course, not a new one. Immediate, first-hand news broadcasting has generated huge global audiences since its conception, and ‘breaking’ stories have garnered large readerships since long before.

However, the transition into live social media, whereby the broadcaster may be the everyday civilian and the content as simple as a brief snapshot of their walk to work, makes for an interesting insight into the ever-growing mass consumption of other people’s lives.

Video content has long-since led the way in terms of generating revenue for platforms. With Facebook totalling more than 8 billion daily video views by the beginning of last year, and the term ‘YouTuber’ having been officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary by the end, it’s safe to say that video content dominates the way in which we consume our social media.

Strong video content is an unequivocally powerful marketing tool. The notion of ‘going viral’ and reaching a large-scale global audience is something that can put your brand on the map like no other, and so it is unsurprising to see so many trying their hand at live-streaming.

Live video is a far cry from the squeaky-clean professionalism of the pre-edited content posted by brands – and YouTubers – to generate views and subsequently sell products. Instead it possesses a roughness, and a risk, that amounts to something far more enticing for the viewer: accessibility.

In a highly competitive industry where professional camera equipment, editing software, studio lighting and management teams have become fundamental in securing views, live streaming turns the current model on its head.

With no time to edit and the all-too-real risk of a poor Internet connection, live streaming strips video content right back down to basics and sends a very clear message to viewers: if I can do it, you can do it.

When the BBC’s South Korea correspondent’s live interview was gate-crashed by his two young children, hilarity ensued around the world. The video, which has now enjoyed several million views, was hailed as a brilliant depiction of the hilarious challenges of having children. Despite its lack of professionalism, and perhaps foresight, the international community received it with open arms; a testament to the allure of live video. The viral video even spawned plenty of online parodies, from re-imagining how a woman would have handed the interruption to a Star Wars parody with Darth Vader in the hot seat.

This newfound accessibility is appealing to viewers and creators alike. Creators (brands, celebrities, YouTubers, etc.) are able to present themselves in a more off-the-cuff manner, firmly positioning themselves as ‘one of us’ and in turn building a relationship that results in investment.

This relationship is what viewers are after. However, it is not only the connection with the creator that appeals to the everyday watcher. It is also the possibility of joining them, of documenting their own lives through video without large investments of time and money, which gives live video its irresistibility.

To find out how the HROC team can help with your live social media, contact us here.