One of the most obvious shifts in social media during the past year or so has been the move towards live video. It used to be that people would take photos or record video and upload them later, to show their friends and followers: ‘look what I got up to earlier.’ Now there are increasing options for people to be able to say: ‘hey, watch what I’m doing right now’.
Periscope was released in March 2015 and allowed users to broadcast a live stream of exactly that. Co-founder Kayvon Beykpour had a grand vision – to bringing people closer to events happening live in other parts of the world. ‘It may sound crazy’ says Periscope’s website, ‘but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation’. Never to be outdone, Facebook released their version, Facebook Live some months later.
The applications of live-streaming are many and varied – from reporting unfolding news stories, to covering red carpet premieres or fashion shows, to the more fun and frivolous (stand up #DrummondPuddleWatch). It feels as though the potential of live video is just starting to be tapped and it presents some interesting opportunities for brands to be more creative and immediate on social.
The freshly-named Snap Inc has always captured ‘of the moment’ content – whether it’s the disappearing photos that made their name, or ‘Stories’ the feature that allows users to follow a friend’s activities over the course of 24 hours. Recently they announced their first piece of hardware – Spectacles – a range of brightly-coloured sunglasses with built in cameras. These allow the user to upload and share short bursts of video directly to the ‘Memories’ area of their account. The inference of that name change is clear – they’re less about the chat and more about the snap.
It will be interesting to see how Spectacles are received. At a relatively affordable £101, and significantly less geeky than the failed Google Glass, they stand a pretty good chance. For the first time perhaps, we’re also seeing the smartphone being removed from the equation and other, less intrusive devices providing the link between the real world and social.
Watch out. It’s not just big brother watching you, your little brother may be watching you at a family party – and uploading your bad dancing to the masses.