Live streaming is the latest function trending on social media today. Live streaming in the media has been going on for years via websites like Twitch and YouTube, but only in the past few years have shown social media apps testing the waters of live streaming. Two of the biggest current social media apps, Twitter and Facebook, are at the forefront of this latest media craze.
On March 13th, Twitter announced that it acquired the steadily growing live streaming app Periscope. While Periscope had a growing audience before Twitter acquired it, it was the app Meekrat that kick-started the live streaming craze. The app, founded by Ben Rubins, was one of the first successful live streaming social media apps. Unfortunately for the company, Twitter made the app not friendly for their users.Around the same time, Twitter also announced the acquisition of Meekrat’s competitor, Periscope, while the app was still getting on its feet.
Twitter’s acquisition led to Periscope getting even more popular and doubling the app’s audience and profits. A competitor capable of eclipsing Twitter took notice though, as Facebook began testing out their own live streaming service in the fall of 2015. The company began testing it out with only celebrities or high profiled individuals being able to stream live, but Facebook made it available for everyone at the beginning of 2016.
Facebook Live and Periscope both have several of the same functions. Anyone with a camera phone can just click to go live on the respective app and people following these accounts may comment on them. But there are some differences that can help people determine which app to use.
While Periscope provides people the ability to hear a live broadcast, Facebook Live offers people a variety of emoji’s to comment while a live stream is going on. This small difference can engage the audience and the live streamer more. Another advantage of using Facebook live is that the app provides an easier way to archive your live streams. With Periscope, live streams are saved, but only for a limited time.
Periscope does provide its own advantages though. As an app designed foremost with live streaming in mind, there is a more built-in audience with the streamer to expect live streams. Due to that, the app provides extra things to do such as the ability to sketch during a live stream. Besides that, Periscope users can go directly live on Twitter, plus by providing hashtags, one can potentially tap an audience beyond just their own followers.
The biggest thing Facebook Live has at its own advantage is that Facebook is still the #1 most used social media app, and therefore, there is a potentially larger audience available by using that app over Periscope. Research also proves Facebook prioritizes live feeds on newsfeeds, so there is a better chance streams can be noticed than perhaps scrolling on a Twitter timeline.
The trend of live streaming on social media will only get more popular and used more frequently as the leading apps of social media like Facebook and Twitter continue to host and promote these streams. This past winter, Instagram launched a live streaming service to compete with the two apps called Instagram live, proving live streaming competing is only just getting started. While at the moment it may seem like Facebook Live is more efficient at live streaming needs, social media is an ever changing phenomenon.
What do you think about this, is Facebook Live the best option for live streaming on social media? Is there a argument to be made for Periscope being the better live streaming app? Should Instagram Live be looked at more closely as a competitor for the two apps? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!