Live-streaming is a technology that is still in its infancy. Live streaming in recent years has been confined to the tech savy and to powerful desktop computers because of the large computing power needed. The best example that shows its rise is the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) that has recently been and gone for another year. E3 in recent years has become packed with companies using streaming to connect with its international audience outside of the convention itself and for marketing.
This year, however, there has been a development in online streaming. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope have exploded on to the social media scene, both being released earlier this year. They are apps that connect with your Twitter account and lets you stream live via your iOS or Android device. Both apps are primarily iOS apps, only recently opening up to Android.
Both Meerkat and Periscope are pretty much the same as of the moment. One advantage Periscope has is that it is owned by Twitter while Meerkat is independent. On most other regards it's down to personal preference. Both apps are in their youth and are yet to be refined. Possibly at some point in the future there will be more to separate them but at the moment its just the interface and user experience. Meerkat is much designed for the streamer while Periscope is designed with the watcher more in mind. But what do you stream when your at an event? Well, E3 gave some incites into how best to use the new mobile streaming platform. Here are the best tips I have garnered.
1: This is no different to streaming normally
You are broadcast live for all to see. If that is a daunting prospect then streaming is not for you. Getting 'stage fright' by streaming can happen if your not prepared. The first step would be to be accepting of yourself on camera. Making YouTube videos is always a good start. You don't even have to show your face when you start. You can just record a voice over and move on to talking to camera further own the line. Baby steps.
2: Stream with purpose
While the tag line for Periscope is 'Explore the world through someone else's eyes,' much of what we see is not that interesting. For E3, some people tried to stream from their seats of the media briefing's, not realising that the official stream was going to be better quality, be from a better angle with multiple cameras and it was free for all the public to see from multiple sources. Stream when you have a unique perspective. For example, Larry Hryb (AKA: “Major Nelson” of Microsoft) Periscoped live from behind the scenes during the Xbox conference. His unique perspective gave an incite into the goings on of Microsoft and was a unique marking exercise for the company. This shouldn't deter you from streaming. When you are on the event floor you have a unique perspective. You see a group of people or a small event on the floor? Why not stream it. You with your live view of something you can beat everyone to the punch.
3: Connect with your audience
It is a social media after all. The whole point of streaming of any kind is to engage with your audience as your going be live with them. Be friendly and open and use the time that you have to answer questions and just chat with those there.
Streaming is a fairly new medium but sites like Twitch and new apps like Meerkat and Periscope are opening up the possibilities to what can be done not just by companies and marketers but by bloggers and online journalists. Not all topics are built for streaming but soon you'll only be limited by what you want to do rather than limited by technology.
Streaming is a good way to spread your brand but it is best used to interact with your audience and in this age of social media, that is a must.
4: It's all about the view
This is were the principles of cinematography and photography come in. It might sound complicated but it just means that what the viewer sees has to be engaging. When using apps like Periscope you have to make sure that you are always in full frame and dead-on to the camera. You don't want to have the camera angled up or down at you as the shot would would just look weird to the viewer. And make sure that you are well lit. The last thing people want to see is a silhouette or torch light figure. Imagine that the camera (or just your mobile device) is a person and talk directly to them as the camera is you audience.
5: Don't worry about audience numbers
This can be said about any internet medium. The hardest part of being a blogger, YouTuber or streamer is finding your audience. Once you find it it will keep growing as long as you make more content. Even the largest YouTubers like PewDiePie had to start somewhere. At some point he had a small unknown channel. Slowly he found his audience, it expanded and expanded, and has now reached numbers cable channels would like. Even the largest people have to start small so just because your small now doesn't mean that your not going to be big one day. The internet moves fast so rises can be literally overnight. Just go by one of the commandments of the internet, “Make content, and the people will come”.
If you would like to see some examples of how and where you can stream, here are a few good examples:
Healthcare Triage (YouTube Live)
YouTube Live is YouTube's native streaming platform but it is locked to users until they have hit a subscriber limit so its not open to all or to you straight away. It's very similar to Google Hangouts, Googles free, but less equipped and streamlined, streaming platform.
Gassy Mexican (Twitch.TV)
Streaming gameplay has become almost the norm, especially on streaming sites like Twitch. Gassy Mexican (AKA Max Gonzalez) streams regularly, a must for people who want to make a living from streaming like he does. A simple search on Twitch will show you hundreds of people streaming video games on the site. Max is just a personal favourite.
Matthew Santoro (Periscope)
Matthew Santoro hosts a list show on his own YouTube channel but he also streams regularly via Periscope. While his streams don't last long, Periscope is a good place were you can engage directly to your audience easily.
Hopefully these tips helps give you some incite into a new and budding form of internet media. Steaming is always good to try out if you want but its not the only way. Just having a blog that people like to read is enough. Streaming is an optional extra for the exuberant and the public. If you don't feel ready, don't worry. Just keep blogging.