Late Saturday night just as I was going to bed somethingremarkable happened.
Shortly after midnight, my timeline was filled with people sharing live streams from US airports. Pop-up protests were taking place. People angry about a ban on people from hand-picked Muslim countries were making their voice heard.
As a former journalist and as someone is interested in the changing media landscape this was fascinating. Protest has made Facebook Live come of age just as protest in Iran eight years ago helped embed Twitter.
An unscientific snapshot at the time showed short clips and commentary on Twitter and live streaming on Facebook.
For previous generations the route for moving images was TV news. Now, protestors as well as online media were just filming what was going on. In this case, they look like they were using their own web-enabled devices rather than an outside broadcast truck.
This one stream from Rewire News recieved 1.2 million viewers within 24-hours. You can watch here:
The live experience is different
While the footage viewing back on Facebook Live above looks clean and straight forward the livestream on mobile was also showing a feisty battle in the comments box between those in support and those against. You can watch here:
Mainstream media picked-up the footage
Channel 4 news in the UK picked-up the footage and repackaged it in an edited short news video. You can see it here:
- It’s ephemeral. A day after the live footage was hard to track down on Facebook and on the Periscope Live. Once it’s gone, it’s pretty much gone.
- Your smartphone is like an outside broadcast truck in your pocket. Live streaming is powerful and an instant way to beam pictures so long as you have a good WiFi connection.
- It can spread the word quickly. By plugging into the networks of social media the link with the video can be widely shared.
- The experience live and later is quite different. With live viewing you get the cascade of likes and comments. Looking back later once the broadcast is over you don’t.
- The role for mainstream media is as aggregaters. With dozens of streams and lengthy broadcasts the role of the journalist is to spot, share then aggregate and explain.
- The quality of the footage doesn’t matter... the value is to see what is happening at that particular moment in time.
- The echo chamber still exists. As widely shared as it is it is still likely to be shared within a network of like-minded people.
- The corporate comm, policy maker and emergency planner needs to keep man eye on what is going on. Live insight is needed to help shape decisions.
- There’s a lesson from history. Public mood turned against the Vietnam war after protests at Kent State University saw protestors killed. What happens next will be interesting to see.
- Crisis comms and emergency comms need to take account of Facebook Live – and Twitter’s Periscope in their forward planning.
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.
There’s been a trend for story telling by video that packs an emotional punch.
There’s been a second trend of students making ads in the style of these. The lad who made the pastiche John Lewis ad which was so good it was taken for the real think springs to mind.
Another one has dropped into my timeline. It’s beautiful. It’s an old man in a home whose yearning to break free is awoken when he re-discovers his old trainers. You can see it here:
It’s lovely. It’s emotional. But stop. Adidas don’t need the extra help.
So much of what I do is in the public sector.
So, what story telling can be made of things in the public sector?
The child whose imagination comes to life through a trip to the library?
The widower who has discovered a new lease of life through a regular visit?
So many potential stories.
What stories could you tell if you tried harder? And communicated differently?
You may know that for the past 18 months or so I’ve been helping to deliver video skills workshops via comms2point0. The aim is to give people the skills to plan, shoot, edit and post video using a smartphone or tablet.
They are a joy to deliver. Steve and Sophie who I deliver them with are good people to work with. I love doing them and seeing people go on a bit of a journey from unsure to taking their first steps. Then later on I may see them blossom into a sprinter and marathon runner who are travelling to amazing places.
One such blooming dropped into my Twitter timeline from Chris Bentley. Chris works at Acorns Hospice which is a hospice in the West Midlands that specialises in looking after childern.
He shot the following video here:
You don’t have to be a parent to get the humanity and dignity of this story. It’s beautifully told.
While you know I help deliver video skills workshops you may not know that I lost my own mother 12 years ago. She died in a hospice surrounded by many of her family. I don’t know how it feels to lose a child as the Harvey family have but I painfully know what it’s like to lose a loved one in a hospice. I wish that when it is time everyone has this.
I’m quietly proud that a workshop that I’ve been involved with may have played even a small part in delivering such an effective video. It’s a video that doesn’t stand alone. It is part of a fundraising campaign to carry on the hospice work. Good communications can seem cold. Find out the business objective. Tell stories and create content that helps that. Evaluate by seeing if the business objective has been reached. But for the coldness of this, what makes it work is the warmth of the storytelling as Chris has done here.
The truism that good PR and comms can make a real difference is never truer than it is here. I can’t wait to see the results of the campaign and will be chipping in with a donation here. I hope you, if you can, do too.
I’ve updated the optimum times for video content with two platforms being removed altogether.
Gone are the six seconds of Vine and gone too is the livestreaming Twitter application Meercat.
I’ve edited the comms2point0 ever updated video resource here and the chart is here:
So, what do the changes say?
Both are Twitter applications, so not all that much.
I’ve also updated the Facebook Live and Periscope optimum length to 10 minutes. This is emerging as the best length of live video.
Luke Watson, in this excellent Search Engine Journal post, makes the point that Facebook page posts reach single digit numbers. But Facebook Live at the minute is free, so it’s worth experimenting with before it costs.